'Why Messi isn't in top 3 of all time'

World News

A three-time Ballon d'Or winner has insisted that Lionel Messi is not among the three greatest footballers in history.

The debate regarding who the best player ever to grace the sport is continues to be a contentious one as there isn't a singular metric to provide a definitive answer.

Scroll through the gallery above to see the 10 players who have won the most Ballon d'Or awards!

Messi has, for a long time, been touted by many to be that individual, and having won an unprecedented seven Ballons d'Or and being the highest-scoring South American in international football history, some might agree with his standing as arguably the best player of all time.

However, Netherlands legend Marco van Basten thinks otherwise, and has explained why.

"Pele, [Diego] Maradona, and [Johan] Cruyff are, for me, the three greatest players in history," the former AC Milan striker told Corriere Dello Sport.

"As a child, I wanted to be like Cruyff. He was my friend. I miss him.

"Pele and Maradona were also incredible.

Read: Man Utd to make U-turn on transfer target?

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

"Messi is not the one who puts himself in front to go to war.

"I don't forget Cristiano Ronaldo, [Michel] Platini, or Zidane."

Here are the 10 highest-scoring international footballers of all time!

Wenger slammed for Africa comments

BREAKING: Ex-Utd star seals Mou reunion

Ivory Coast star handed 18-month ban