Depending what era you’ve lived through, there’s likely to be differing opinions of who the best player to ever play the beautiful game is.
There’s no persuading the current generation that there’s anyone better than Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, in the same way that slightly older football fans would likely cite Johan Cruyff or Diego Maradona as the King.
However, there’s unlikely to be too many arguments that the player who will always sit atop this particular tree is Pele.
Three times a World Cup winner and, allegedly, over 1,000 goals scored, including in a World Cup final as a teenager, Pele was the standard bearer of the game for years.
Until recently, no teenager had managed to replicate his World Cup final goal, but that changed in 2018 when the electric Kylian Mbappe fired home against Croatia.
It’s the Frenchman that Pele has finally crowned as his true heir apparent.
“Mbappe can become my heir, and I’m not kidding,” the Brazilian maestro said to La Gazzetta dello Sport, cited by MARCA.
“I can see a lot of myself in his ability to play with speed. He’s an attacker who thinks quickly.
“When the ball arrives, he already knows what to do, he already has in his mind where to go and how to guide the game to find the best solution. These are important characteristics in today’s football.”
There’s bound to be thousands who disagree with Pele’s choice, but that’s all subjective.
He’s more qualified than the average Joe to understand what certain players from the upper echelons of the game bring to the table, and if he says Mbappe is the closest to himself in terms of ability, who are we to argue.