Maradona is best, says ex-Welsh star
AFTER scoring twice last weekend, Barcelona star Lionel Messi became the first player in almost 40 years to score 60 goals in a single European top-flight season.
That means the 24-year-old Argentinean is well on target to break the record 67 goals by West German hot-shot Gerd Muller for Bayern Munich in the 1972-73 season.
Now there is plenty of talk about Messi being the greatest player of all time, even better than Pele and Diego Maradona.
Trevor Edwards does not agree - he is adamant that you cannot compare players of today with those of yesteryear.
The 75-year-old should know what he is talking about, because he has played in the World Cup finals and against some of the greatest players the game has ever seen, including Pele.
A former defender, Edwards, a Hervey Bay resident, played two games for Wales in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden.
The Welsh reached the quarter-finals before losing 1-0 against the eventual winner, Brazil. Pele scored the goal.
Edwards, who played 67 games for Charlton Athletic in the English first division - now called the Premier League - before joining Cardiff City, described it as a huge call to say Messi was the greatest.
"There is no way in the world that you can compare players from different eras," said Edwards, who made his debut for Charlton against a team he rated the best in the world - the Manchester United "Busby Babes" of the 1956-57 season.
"The game is so much different today than it was when I played and even when Maradona played - it's so much faster and technical for a start.
"Today's players are also given so much protection.
"You only have to sneeze today and a player would go down, but that wasn't the case when I played.
"The stars back then like Pele copped plenty of tough tackles. It was a lot rougher in those days and teams would put a 'destroyer' on a star in the opposing team to soften them up with a kick here or there.
"It would be interesting to see Messi cope with that."
But who does Edwards think is the greatest player?
"For me, Messi is a fabulous player, but he hasn't proved himself at an international level yet," he said.
"I would say Maradona has been the best all-round player I have seen because he could start a move and finish it. As for Pele, well, he was easily the best finisher and what a goalscorer he was - he was a genius."
Shooting Stars (career goals)
Diego Maradona 292
Lionel Messi 179 to-date