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'In Brazil, Pele is number one, in Argentina, Messi or Maradona' - Nascimento on GOAT debate

11:14 PM MYT 15/01/2023
Pele Brazil.
Royal AM defender Ricardo Nascimento has remembered the late Pele and joined the debate on who is the greatest footballer of all time.
  • Pele died at the end of 2022
  • The GOAT debate returned following his death
  • Nascimento shares his thoughts on who is the greatest

WHAT HAPPENED? Pele succumbed to cancer on December 29 aged 82. His death came shortly after the GOAT debate appeared to have been settled following Lionel Messi's 2022 Fifa World Cup triumph with Argentina.

However, discussions on who is the best ever footballer to grace a football pitch was reignited following Pele’s death. Nascimento, who shares the same surname as Pele, goes down memory lane to relive his encounters with the late Brazil icon during his time at Santos.

The former Mamelodi Sundowns star came through his development stages at Brazilian giants Santos where he met Pele.

He picks the three-time World Cup winner as his greatest player ever and he further explains what the late star meant to the people of Brazil.

WHAT NASCIMENTO SAID: “Because I played at Santos and Santos is my team because I support, it hurts,” said Nascimento as per iDiski Times. “When we were small boys, Pele used to come and talk to us [at Santos]. As much as it is difficult, he said we should continue to play football. My father also supports Santos, so we were hurt and for me, he was the greatest player of all time.

“Knowing Brazil he was very important. In Brazil, he’s number one and in Argentina, it is [between] Lionel Messi and [late] Diego Maradona. Pele was for life, for football. It is difficult in Brazil because Pele is no more.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The GOAT debate has been between Pele, Messi, Maradona and Cristiano Ronaldo and it still rages on. Pele won three Fifa World Cup titles and never played in Europe where other players compared to him clinched major trophies with their clubs.

While Messi and Maradona have a World Cup title each, Ronaldo never won it and his final chance to claim it ended in tears after Portugal were eliminated at the quarter-final stage.