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Pep Guardiola explains why Messi beats Pele & Maradona as the GOAT

Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi
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In the eyes of Pep Guardiola, there was never any doubt that Lionel Messi is the best player ever – with or without a World Cup.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola insists Lionel Messi is the greatest of all time, outlining arguments for Pele and the late Diego Maradona as ‘sentimental’.

The never-ending GOAT debate took a fresh twist on Sunday when Messi won his first World Cup with Argentina. By doing so, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner emulated 1986 Argentinian champion Maradona. However, three-time Brazilian winner Pele still has more titles than the pair, even when combined.

“Everyone has their opinion, but nobody can doubt he’s there with the greatest of all time,” Guardiola said of Messi at a press conference on Wednesday.

“For me, I’ve said many times: he’s the best. It’s difficult to understand how a player can complete what he’s done in the past 50 or 70 years. The people who saw Pele or [Alfredo] Di Stefano or Maradona, the people can say ‘my favorite’, but these opinions are sentimental.

“On the other side, if he wouldn’t have won the World Cup, the opinion about what he has done for the whole of football and my opinion of how he is as a player wouldn’t change absolutely anything. But it’s normal that it depends if you win [how] you are evaluated. Of course, for him, it’s the final cherries on his incredible career.”

Guardiola also confirmed striker Julian Alvarez will take a ‘break’ after helping Argentina win the World Cup.

City return to action from the World Cup break on Thursday for an EFL Cup clash with Liverpool in the Round of 16 at home.