BRAZILIAN football legend Pele has claimed that Cristiano Ronaldo is better than Lionel Messi… but not without also insisting that HE remains the greatest of all time.

The 79-year-old, who holds Guinness World Record as top scorer of all time, doesn’t think that these young whippersnappers quite live up to his greatness.

And although many of his 1,281 recorded goals were scored in unofficial friendlies, the three-time World Cup winner rightly remains at the forefront of any “greatest of all time” debate.

But on the current crop, Pele’s view is firm, as he told YouTube channel Pilhado: “Today the best player in the world is Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I think he’s the best, because he’s more consistent, but you can’t forget about [Lionel] Messi, of course, but he’s not a striker.”

Ronaldo, 35, has scored an astonishing 725 goals in 100 total games over the course of his glittering career.

But Messi, three years his junior, also boasts an amazing record, having bagged 697 goals in 856 games, despite, as Pele points out – not being a striker.

The legendary former Santos man named a host of other contenders to his self-appointed title as the sport’s greatest ever… but with one glaring omission.

He continued: “It is a question that is difficult to answer. We cannot forget about Zico, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.

“And in Europe, Franz Beckenbauer and Johan Cruyff.