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Define 'cut the mustard' ... you don't think Southall should be considered cause Wales were shit? NT
as the best of all time?
But I don't think Maradona or Pele have had anywhere near the club career and accomplishments that Messi had. Take away the World Cup 86 (games) and would people be arguing that Maradona was the best in the world? I don't think so. That achievement and how he did it was truly remarkable, but it was 7 games. Messi has played at an unbelievable level for hundreds of games. It hasn't happened for him at international level but he's still had a good career with Argentina and won the golden ball at the 2014 world cup.
As for Pele he stayed in Brazil and in 18 seasons and won 6 titles. Messi won ten titles in 17 seasons in Barca. And if your argument is Santos weren't as strong as team as Barcelona, then Brazil at the time of Pele were vastly stronger than Argentina at the time of Messi.
But obviously all three players are gods of the game and there will never be a way to definitively rank them so it just comes down to opinions.
and definitely Tony Hibbert.