Vincent Kompany: ‘Pele is the greatest player of all time’

CNN  — 

Who is the greatest footballer of all time?

It’s a loaded question but you’d be challenged to find a football fan without an opinion on it.

In an exclusive interview for CNN Sport, Belgium and Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany, picks three-time World Cup winner Pele.

“I think you can always have the debate, Maradona, you add Messi to it now. They won’t be far off each other,” said Kompany, referring to the two past and present Argentine players.

“(Pele) has more than a thousand goals which is difficult to achieve. He was part of great teams but he was also the best player in great teams,” added the 32-year-old Kompany.

maradona still goal century tease
Diego Maradona and the 'Goal of the Century'
04:33 - Source: CNN

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Kompany’s favorite World Cup memory of the Brazilian great is a moment when he dummied Uruguayan goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz in the 1970 finals. However after flummoxing Mazurkiewicz, Pele great was then unable to find the net with his shot.

“He got a long pass on the floor which he kind of faked to take into his stride and therefore beat the goalkeeper and went around the goalkeeper.

“He just narrowly missed the best goal in World Cup history,” added Kompany.

‘The richer I get, the better it is for other people’

Kompany believes the key ingredient to Belgium winning the World Cup in Russia is a hint of luck.

“Let’s not forget that luck plays a big part, you also have to peak at the right time as well.

“A lot of people forget that Germany was nowhere near the level in the beginning of the tournament as opposed to the end when they won it and therefore just peak at the right time and be calm,” he added, referring to Germany’s World Cup success four years ago.

The son of a Congolese political refugee and his mother a trade union leader, Kompany spent his early career with Belgian club Anderlecht.

“I always said to my mother, ‘The richer I get, the better it is for a lot of people, so don’t worry about it.’

“I’ve kept that since I was 17, I’ve always done it. I started looking after my family first and then I moved on to look after people in my neighborhood where I came from, and now I am happy to say that I put more than 1,000 kids out to play football every single week,” he added.

Belgium’s opening World Cup match is against Panama on June 18, though Kompany may miss that game after picking up a groin injury in a friendly against Portugal earlier this month.

Kompany looks on during Belgium's friendly match against the Czech Republic.

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Late last year Kompany graduated with a Master’s in Business Administration after four years part-time study at the Alliance Manchester Business School.