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Holland legend Marco van Basten has named his three best footballers in history.

But there’s no place for seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi.

van Basten has revealed his top three players ever.


Van Basten, 58, is widely regarded as one of the best players of his generation.


The Dutchman scored 283 goals in 379 games for Ajax and AC Milan, winning six league titles, five domestic cups and six European trophies in the process.

Van Basten also led Holland to the 1988 Euros and was named the Ballon d’Or winner three times.

He has now lifted the lid on his own favourite players, revealing the names of three stars revered by lovers of the beautiful game around the world.

Van Basten, now a technical director at Fifa, selected three-time World Cup winner and Brazil legend Pele, who died in December, as his No1 player.

Argentina icon Maradona, who passed away in 2020, was No2 on the list.

And third was Dutch master Johan Cruyff, who died in 2016.

Van Basten admits Messi was close to making the list, but missed out due to his lack of leadership.

Brazil legend Pele is Van Basten’s No1

Next up for Van Basten is Argentina icon Diego Maradona.
While there were honourable mentions for Cristiano Ronaldo, Michel Platini and Zinedine Zidane.

Van Basten, who played his last game in 1993 aged 28 due to injury, told France Football: “Pele, Diego Maradona and Johan Cruyff are, for me, the three greatest players in history.

“As a child, I wanted to be like Cruyff. He was my friend, I miss him. Pele and Maradona were also incredible.

“Messi is also a magnificent player, but Maradona has always had more personality in a team.

“Messi is not the one who gets in front to go to war.

“I don’t forget Cristiano Ronaldo, Michel Platini or Zinedine Zidane.”

Van Basten also loves Johan Cruyff.


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