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Messi is better than Pele and Maradona – Diouf

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Two-time African Footballer of the Year El-Hadji Diouf has picked Barcelona star Lionel Messi as the greatest player of all time, ahead of Brazil legend Pele and Argentina’s Diego Maradona.

Over the years, there has been a constant argument about the all-time best footballer with Messi and Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo having won the Ballon D’Or five times each.

On Thursday, the Argentina forward was named Uefa’s best forward for the 2018-19 season after scoring 51 goals across all competitions, including 12 efforts in the Champions League.

Diouf is convinced by Messi’s qualities and skills which he has rated above any football player including himself.

File photo of Senegal's El Hadji Diouf

© 2004 AFP File photo of Senegal’s El Hadji Diouf

“Leo Messi: better than Pele, better than Maradona … and even better than me! (Laughs) What he can do is beyond remarkable. He’s an extra-terrestrial,” Diouf told Fifa the website.

When quizzed further about the greatest Senegalese to have played football, the former Bolton Wanderers and Liverpool forward was quick to pick himself.

“That’s me, of course! I’m the only Senegalese player to have won African Footballer of the Year twice and I did it without going flat out,” he added.

During his playing career across 11 clubs in France, England, Scotland and Malaysia, Diouf played alongside some of the best players in the world but he has chosen one Nigeria legend as the best of them all and he also selected his favourite moment in his career.

“Jay-Jay Okocha at Bolton. He could do absolutely everything with the ball,” he added.

“The 2002 World Cup, and in particular the win against France [in the group stage].” – Reuters

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