A look at Pele's greatness through the words of his peers, contemporaries and current stars

by IANS |

Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Dec 30 (IANS) Brazilian football legend Pele, who died on Thursday aged 82, was widely lauded throughout his lifetime by other players and figures of the game.

His contemporaries and future stars have analysed his greatness and his game over the years, proving why Pele is considered the greatest footballer ever, reports Xinhua.

Here is a compilation of some of the most memorable quotes about the three-time World Cup winner, from his contemporaries to modern-day greats:

Carlos Alberto Torres: "His great secret was improvisation. Those things he did were in one moment. He had an extraordinary perception of the game."

Neymar: "Before Pele, '10' was just a number. I read that phrase somewhere, at some point in my life. But that beautiful sentence is incomplete. I would say that before Pele, football was just a sport. Pele changed everything."

Diego Maradona: "It's too bad we never got along, but he was an awesome player."

Romario: "It's only inevitable I look up to Pele. He's like a God to us [Brazilians]."

Alfredo Di Stefano: "The best player ever? Pele. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are both great players with specific qualities, but Pele was better."

Bobby Moore: "Pele was the most complete player I've ever seen, he had everything. Two good feet. Magic in the air. Quick. Powerful. Could beat people with skill. Could outrun people. Only five feet and eight inches tall, yet he seemed a giant of an athlete on the pitch. Perfect balance and impossible vision. He was the greatest because he could do anything and everything on a football pitch."

Tostao: "Pele was the greatest -- he was simply flawless. And off the pitch, he is always smiling and upbeat. You never see him bad-tempered. He loves being Pele."

Jose Mourinho: "I think he is football. You have the real special one -- Mr. Pele."

Franz Beckenbauer: "Pele is the greatest player of all time. He reigned supreme for 20 years. There's no one to compare with him."

Just Fontaine: "When I saw Pele play, it made me feel I should hang up my boots."

Clodoaldo: "In some countries, they wanted to touch him, in some they wanted to kiss him. In others they even kissed the ground he walked on. I thought it was beautiful, just beautiful."

Sir Bobby Charlton: "I sometimes feel as though football was invented for this magical player."

Zico: "This debate about the player of the century is absurd. There's only one possible answer: Pele. He's the greatest player of all time, and by some distance, I might add".

Michel Platini: "There's Pele the man, and then Pele the player. And to play like Pele is to play like God."

Ferenc Puskas: "The greatest player in history was Di Stefano. I refuse to classify Pele as a player. He was above that."

Johan Cruyff: "Pele was the only footballer who surpassed the boundaries of logic."

Cristiano Ronaldo: "Pele is the greatest player in football history, and there will only be one Pele."

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