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Pele: No one can match my record

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Pele: A changing game
  • Pele has told CNN no one can match his achievements in football
  • The Brazilian won three World Cups, more than any other player
  • The 70-year-old is confident his homeland will be ready to host the 2014 World Cup

Watch the full 30-minute interview with Pele on Talk Asia at the following times: Wednesday Apr 27, 10.30; Thursday Apr 28, 03.30; Saturday Apr 30, 08.00, 16.00; Sunday May 1, 08.30; Monday May 2, 02.00; Tuesday May 3, 03.30 (All times GMT)

(CNN) -- Brazilian football icon Pele has told CNN his record during a playing career spanning 25 years is unrivalled by anyone else in the sport.

The former Santos striker was part of three World Cup winning Brazil squads and was named FIFA player of the century in 2000.

The 70-year-old, whose full name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, said modern players do not achieve success over a prolonged period like their illustrious predecessors.

"Nobody did what Pele did," the one-time New York Cosmos forward told CNN.

Pele on Brazil's World Cup
Pele: The greatest

"Being champion of the world at 17-years-old, won three World Cups, scored more than 1,208 goals, only him.

"Then until now nobody did this, to me, Pele is the best. You can mention players that played for 10 years, for example [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Michel] Platini, [Eric] Cantona, Bobby Charlton, George Best, then come [Diego] Maradona, Zico.

"Those players used to play a long time. Now the players they play one year, two years, then disappear."

His final World Cup was in 1970 and Pele rates the Brazil team that lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in Mexico as the finest the South American country has ever produced.

"In 1958, 1962, Brazil had excellent individuals. We had Garrincha, we had Didi, Djalma Santos. Also Pele, [Mario] Zagallo were excellent players. But as a team all together I think 1970 was no doubt the best team."

Brazil will host the tournament they have won a record five times in 2014, and their former number 10 said the nation will be ready for one of sport's biggest competitions, but Pele warned the speed of preparations must be increased.

Nobody did what Pele did

"Of course they [the stadiums] will be ready. The state of San Paulo ... we don't decide yet, we don't start [building] the stadium yet. This I think is a little bad for the reputation of Brazil, for the reputation of those who work for Brazil. That's my worry."

After 18 years with Santos, Pele made the decision to sign with the Cosmos in the now defunct North American Soccer League (NASL) in 1975.

A project to bring back the Cosmos -- which includes former Manchester United striker Cantona as the team's director of football -- has been launched and Pele is acting as a representative for his former club.

"When I retired, at that time I had a lot of proposals to play in Europe, England, Italy, Spain, Mexico. But I said no, after 18 years I want to rest, because I want to retire.

"They wanted to make soccer big in the United States. That was the reason I come back to play. Then I start my mission. Now I am here because of this.

"We are going to revive New York Cosmos, to be fantastic. Because [when when I started] with New York Cosmos [football] became a very big sport in the U.S., and now we come back."