Legends of the Past: How Do They Compare?

Aaron WestContributor IApril 11, 2009

ZURICH, SWITZERLAND - JANUARY 12: Pele congratulates Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal as he wins The FIFA World Player Of The Year 2008, at the Zurich Opera House on January 12, 2009 in Zurich, Switzerland.  (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)

How do you compare legends?  My firm belief is that "O Fenômeno" Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima is the best striker of all time. One could argue strongly that Thierry Henry in his prime could rival the great man, but I rest on Ronaldo as the G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time).

The crux of my argument is that although both men were phenomenal strikers, Ronaldo's superior dribbling ability and absolute devastating finishing within the box made him a better all-around forward.

One needs only to watch videos of Ronaldo from the PSV, Barcelona, and Inter Milan years to see this made plain.

Moving on from this issue, how do Ronaldo, Henry and the legends from our day stack up against the legends of the past such as Marco Van Basten, Pelé, Maradona, Cruyff, and such luminaries as Ferenc Puskás and Alfredo Di Stefano?

To use basketball as a reference, such giants of the game as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, etc. were considered the G.O.A.T. in their day until a certain man named Michael Jordan came along and snatched the title.

However, we are approaching a generation of teenagers and young adults that will never have seen Michael Jordan play a game. In lieu of that fact, will they respect his achievements?

The same goes for Marco Van Basten, Maradona, Pelé, etc. For the simple fact that we didn't grow up watching these players, our generation (and by our, I mean my generation of 20-somethings) will find it difficult to truly appreciate their accomplishments.

Because of that, will the next generation recognize our current legends (Ronaldo, Zidane, Henry, etc.) for their true brilliance?