Pele and Ronaldo in battle of the skies. Who comes out on top?

By on April 7, 2014

When talking about the best players to have ever lived, the names Pelé and Cristiano Ronaldo are arguably pretty sure bets to be near the top. Two players of infinite quality, worthy of gracing any pitch, and deserving of the reference and adulation they receive. But who would get your vote in a straight battle?

We know which legend the barmaid thinks is the top 'player'

We know which legend the barmaid thinks is the top ‘player’

Which footballing demi-god would come out on top if they, say, were standing two feet away from you in the on-board lounge of an Emirates A380 flight, waiting for your response?

That is just the scenario the luxury Emirates airline have attempted to create with their All Time Greats campaign, celebrating the addition of Ronaldo to their array of global ambassadors, of which Pelé is already a part of.

Having started an Official Partnership with the FIFA World Cup in 2006, Emirates have pulled out the stops ahead of the festivities in South America this summer, snapping up Ronaldo, and pitting him in a battle of egos aboard one of their flagship aircraft against the irrepressible Pelé.

Considering the clip, the chuckling Pelé, showing off those ‘Escape to Victory’ acting skills, comes out on top, 2 to 1. But we all know it’s not that simple, not with Ronaldo’s preening, pouting, and affable arrogance seemingly effecting the cabin pressure, judging by that endless gaze from the smitten barmaid.

The Portuguese captain has been a man among boys at club level with Real Madrid since his £80m move from Manchester United in 2006, scoring more goals than he has played games. A ludicrous feat, with the reigning Ballon d’Or winner certainly one of the best players there has ever been, and, were it not for a certain pesky Argentine, the best player of a generation.

Pelé, now 73, is to football as the Mona Lisa is to the art world; wondrous, magnificent, and enduring. The Brazilian legend may never be relinquished of his moniker of best ever player, despite modern day greats making the beautiful game seem an effortless pastime.

The best way I can convey his position in football is through a handful of choice quotes from past players.

“I told myself before the game, ‘he’s made of skin and bones just like everyone else’. But I was wrong.” Tarcisio Burgnich, the Italy defender who marked Pelé in the Mexico 1970 Final

“The greatest player in history was Di Stefano. I refuse to classify Pelé as a player. He was above that.” Ferenc Puskas, former Real Madrid legend

“Pelé was the only footballer who surpassed the boundaries of logic.” Johan Cruyff, Dutch master

Can Cristiano Ronaldo overtake such a player? At 29, does he have the time? Watch the Emirates video, put on your thinking caps, and reveal your best ever player in the comments below and join in the twitter conversation with #AllTimeGreats


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