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Sport shorts: Ronaldo or Messi? Pele says he is the best footballer ever

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Brazilian icon Pele is regarded by many as football’s greatest ever player
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Brazilian icon Pele is regarded by many as football’s greatest ever player
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Brazilian icon Pele is regarded by many as football’s greatest ever player 

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Brazilian icon Pele is regarded by many as football’s greatest ever player

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 25 March

Daily Briefing
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 - 1:03pm

1. Pele: there won’t be anyone else like me

In the Cristiano Ronaldo vs. Lionel Messi debate Pele has opted for the Juventus and Portugal superstar.

See related 
Lionel Messi vs. Cristiano Ronaldo: career records, all-time goals, assists, awards, hat-tricks, trophies

However, in terms of the greatest footballer ever the Brazilian legend believes he’s still the No.1. 

The 79-year-old, who won three World Cups, said on YouTube channel Pilhado: “Right now I think Cristiano Ronaldo is the most consistent player out there, but you can’t forget about Messi.”

On who is the best ever player, he added: “We mustn’t forget Zico and Ronaldinho. People always talk about European players like [Franz] Beckenbauer and [Johan] Cruyff. 

“It’s not my fault, but I think I was better than all of them. There will only be one Pele. There won’t be anyone else like me.”

2. Guardiola and Messi donate €1m

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has donated €1m (£920,000) to help fight the coronavirus outbreak in Spain. 

The money will be donated to a campaign spearheaded by the Medical College of Barcelona and the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation. 

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has also donated €1m, which will be split between the Hospital Clinic in Barcelona and a medical facility in his hometown of Rosario, Argentina.

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3. Petit: Liverpool ‘more impressive’ than the Arsenal Invincibles

Former Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Petit believes the current Liverpool team is “more impressive” than the Gunners’s “Invincibles” side who went a season unbeaten in 2003-04.  

Petit told the Daily Mirror: “It’s amazing what they [Liverpool] are doing - it is rare to see a team winning so many games and being so dominant against their opponents all the time.

“They were both great teams in history, but for me this Liverpool team have something special. It is hard to explain what I feel when I look at Liverpool, but I don’t remember thinking the same way when I was looking at the Invincibles.

“They have impressed me more than Arsenal’s Invincibles. I am pretty sure Arsenal fans won’t be happy with that. But I have to be honest. When I look at this team, the motivation, the intensity, so many talented players. Something is different with them.”

4. Zlatan held talks with Leeds

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has revealed that the Championship club held talks with Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the Swedish star rejoined AC Milan in January. 

Radrizzani told Sky in Italy: “I spoke with Zlatan Ibrahimovic more concretely. He could have given us that decisive push but he decided to go to AC Milan. He has been very honest and transparent with me.”

5. Newton released by the Panthers 

NFL’s Carolina Panthers have released star quarterback Cam Newton. 

The 30-year-old spent nine years with the Panthers and led them to the Super Bowl in 2015 where they lost to the Denver Broncos. But in recent seasons he has struggled with injuries to his shoulder and foot.   

“Cam has meant a lot to this organisation and the Carolinas,” said general manager Marty Hurney. “Everyone saw his performances on the field. I had the privilege of seeing how hard he worked off the field, and his commitment to this team when no one was watching.”

Premier League club Watford play their home games at Vicarage Road

6. Hornets offer facilities to the NHS

Premier League club Watford have offered all of their facilities for exclusive use of West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust (WHHT) during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Scott Duxbury, Watford’s chairman and CEO, said: “We need to forget football right now and concentrate on doing all we can to support the NHS and, in particular, Watford General Hospital.

“Our proximity as a football club next door to a hospital puts us in a great position to offer help and we’re keen to do whatever we possibly can to support NHS staff and their families.” 

Christine Allen, chief executive of West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Right now, we are doing all we can to make sure we can focus on caring for our sickest patients. We have found ourselves needing extra space very quickly. 

“For example, we are running refresher training to our clinical staff so that they can care for patients with breathing difficulties. And we also need more space so that we can stick to important guidance about social distancing for our staff induction sessions and for key meetings when we need our senior leadership teams around the table. 

“The club’s support is helping us to run our organisation safely and we are very grateful for their support at this challenging time.”

7. Sterling: Liverpool are always in my heart 

Despite leaving Liverpool for Manchester City in a controversial transfer in 2015 Raheem Sterling admits that the Anfield club are “always in my heart”. 

England striker Sterling spent five years at Anfield and in a live social media Q&A he was asked if he would ever return to the Reds. 

On the Colossal Sports Management Instagram account, Sterling said: “Would I ever go back to Liverpool? To be honest with you, I love Liverpool. Don’t get it twisted, they are always in my heart, do you know what I mean? It’s a team that [has] done a lot for me growing up.”

Juventus may turn to Jesus and Kane gives injury update

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For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today 
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8. Transfer window of opportunity 

Daily Mirror reports that the summer football transfer window could “stay open until January”. With football in an historic limbo, and no matches envisaged before May, there is confusion about how the summer transfer market will work. 

The Mirror says that if the season does start again in May and go until the start of July that will “cause havoc for the transfer market”. As a result talks are underway between the relevant bodies to reach a solution, and one option is to extend the summer transfer window until January, instead of closing it on 1 September.

Transfer ‘free-for-all’ as summer window could stay open until January

9. Marathon effort by balcony runner  

A French athlete whose marathon was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic ran the entire 26.2 miles on his 23-foot-long balcony.

Elisha Nochomovitz completed the run in six hours and 48 minutes after performing approximately 3,000 laps of the balcony. His girlfriend fed him M&M’s and Coca-Cola as he ran.

10. Back pages: Time up for Tokyo… for now 

“Time runs out for Tokyo” is the headline on the back page of the Independent above a striking photo of the illuminated Olympic rings against the night sky of Japan’s capital. 

Not surprisingly the papers all lead with the news that the summer Olympics and Paralympics have been postponed until 2021.

Today’s back pages

Olympic flame will continue to burn in Tokyo, football’s window of opportunity, Kane on the mend

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For analysis of the biggest sport stories - and a concise, balanced take on the week’s news - try The Week magazine. Start your trial today 
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