‘Better than Neymar, Messi & Ronaldo!’ – Brazilian World Cup winner Edilson makes bold claim
Former Brazil international Edilson, who tasted World Cup glory in 2002, has claimed to be “better than Neymar” while also standing above Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to career achievements.
A man who earned 21 caps for his country and took in four league title triumphs across spells with Palmeiras and Corinthians, believes that his exploits allow him to rank among the best to have ever played the game.
Edilson was never a Ballon d’Or contender, and spent only a brief period in Europe during a loan stint at Benfica, but he did reach the very top with his country.
As part of a star-studded Brazil team, the world was conquered alongside Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo in 2002.
Iconic figures such as Messi and Ronaldo cannot claim to have scaled such heights, despite taking in the most memorable of careers as individual superstars.
Talismanic performers at Barcelona and Juventus have won the Ballon d’Or 11 times between them, while shattering countless records and collecting an enviable haul of collective and personal prizes.
Edilson, though, says his World Cup winners’ medal edges him above two men who have dominated the sporting scene during the modern era.
He also feels as though his technical ability when at the peak of his powers was greater than the current face of Brazilian football, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar.
“At my best, I played better than Neymar,” Edilson told TV Bandeirantes. “He needs to win the World Cup in order to be better than me.
“I have personality, and for Messi to be better than me, he also has to win the World Cup.
“Cristiano Ronaldo is just strength; he strikes the ball well with both feet, but I’m more skilful than him.”
Edilson did contribute a steady stream of goals over the course of his career, but he was rarely prolific.
He also managed only six efforts through his 21 outings for Brazil, with fierce competition for places meaning that the spotlight often focused on others.
Two starts were made at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea – against Costa Rica and Turkey – while he stepped off the bench in meetings with England and China.
He saw no minutes in a 2-0 final victory over Germany, but does have the medal to show that he landed the most prestigious of trophies.
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