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Are you kidding?: Fans fume as George Best left out of BBC poll to rank top 10 greatest footballers of all time

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George Best presents Pele with a plaque commemorating the Brazilian as the best soccer player in the world during Pele Appreciation Day at Rose Bowl stadium in Pasedena, California, in 1978.

George Best presents Pele with a plaque commemorating the Brazilian as the best soccer player in the world during Pele Appreciation Day at Rose Bowl stadium in Pasedena, California, in 1978.

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Former soccer stars Manchester United and Northern Ireland star George Best, right, and Brazil's Pele, smile during an awards luncheon for Pele in Los Angeles in this April 1978 file photo. )

Former soccer stars Manchester United and Northern Ireland star George Best, right, and Brazil's Pele, smile during an awards luncheon for Pele in Los Angeles in this April 1978 file photo. )

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George Best presents Pele with a plaque commemorating the Brazilian as the best soccer player in the world during Pele Appreciation Day at Rose Bowl stadium in Pasedena, California, in 1978.

An attempt to mark Pele's 80th birthday with a poll to rank the Brazilian great amongst the top 10 players of all time has been met with disbelief from fans.

The list of the 10 best footballers, published by BBC Sport, omitted the legendary George Best, much to the confusion of fans.

Instead, supporters were given the opportunity to rate Pele alongside Lionel Messi, Diego Maradona, Johan Cruyff, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alfredo Di Stefano, Franz Beckenbauer, Zinedine Zidane, Ferenc Puskas and Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima.

The article explained that it had taken its list of the top 10 players from a recently published breakdown of the world's greatest 50 footballers by popular magazine Four Four Two.

In that list, Best made it only as far as 14th, with other greats like Garrincha (11th), Bobby Charlton (19th) and Paolo Maldini (20th) also controversially missing out on the top 10.

While hailing Best's achievements, such as helping Manchester United to their first European Cup title in 1968 and winning the Ballon D'Or in the same year, Four Four Two tempered their praise by saying that Best's career "wasn’t quite the success it could have been due to his carousing and womanising."

Despite passing the buck on the decision-making, saying it was the magazine's choice, the BBC felt the wrath of fans on social media.

Armagh man Gareth McCarter told the broadcaster that it was "some oversight".

"Quite incredible that you’ve left George Best off this list," he said.

"Do @BBCSport not have editors? Or do you not watch football and appreciate fans. I’m sure he would have been included if he was English. Who makes a football top ten without George Best!"

Dave Harrison was one of many fans to remind the BBC that even Pele himself once described Best as "the greatest player in the world."

"What about George Best? Messi and the other more recent players wouldn’t last 10 mins playing against Norman Hunter," added Franco Cassar, referring to the fearsome former Leeds United defender who Best had to face during his career.

Andrew claimed that Best should be in first place "by a long way, in terms of pure natural footballing talent, ability and flair" while Paul added "I'm no Utd fan but even I can see George Best ran circles round most of this list".

Stephen Duffin guessed that perhaps the Beeb left 'automatic' winner Best off the list to protect the competitive element".

Tweeting Cynical added the names of Bobby Moore, Paolo Maldini, Bobby Charlton, Alessandro Del Piero and Gianluigi Buffon to those who could have made the list while Random Golfer's suggestion of Peter Crouch just might have been tongue in cheek, even if the former England international did prove that he "could do it on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke."

Anyway, Happy 80th Birthday Pele!

Belfast Telegraph


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