Marco van Basten brutally snubs Lionel Messi as he names three greatest ever players

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Dutch football legend Marco van Basten has snubbed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from his list of the three greatest players of all time. Messi and Ronaldo are widely held up as two of the best footballers in history, having scored a staggering number of goals and won a multitude of trophies.

Van Basten himself is also seen as one of the best players in history, having won the Ballon d’Or three times as he starred for Ajax and AC Milan. And the three-time European Cup winner has now delivered his verdict on the greatest players of all time.

Surprisingly though, neither Messi, who has won the Ballon d’Or a record seven times, nor Ronaldo, who has five Ballon d’Or wins, have been included. Instead, Van Basten looked further back in football history to Pele, Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff.

“Pele, [Diego] Maradona and [Johan] Cruyff are for me the three greatest players in history. As a kid I wanted to be like Cruyff. He was my friend. I miss him. Pele and Maradona were also incredible,” he told France Football, via Marca.

Van Basten’s reasoning for ignoring Messi was his perception that the Argentine did not put teams on his back in the way that Maradona did. That was enough for the Dutchman to snub the Paris Saint-Germain star and select his countryman instead.

“Messi is also a great player, but Maradona always had more personality in a team. Messi is not the one who puts himself at the front to go to war. I’m not forgetting Cristiano Ronaldo, [Michel] Platini or [Zinedine] Zidane,” Van Basten added.

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In fairness to Van Basten, Messi is coming off the back of one of the worst seasons of his career. The 34-year-old joined PSG on a free transfer last summer, but scored just six league goals as they won Ligue 1.

PSG were also knocked out of the Champions League in embarrassing fashion as they fell apart against Real Madrid. His struggles in France mean that for the first time in years, Messi appears to be out of the running for the Ballon d’Or.

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