Pele or Maradona, who is the greatest?
They are, quite simply, the two greatest footballers of all time. So it only seems right to wish them both a happy birthday.
On Saturday, Pele celebrates his 70th and exactly a week later Diego Maradona turns 50. Between them they have won four of the last 14 World Cups and taken part in another four, and in the process they have not only helped to redefine the boundaries of their sport, but they have become a part of all of our lives.
Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento in Tres Coracoes in Minas Gerais state, Pele first wowed the world as a 17-year-old by helping Brazil win their first World Cup in 1958. He went on to help them defend their trophy in 1962 and then, in 1970, led the greatest team of all time to victory in Mexico to win the tournament for an unequalled third time.
A striker with blistering pace, fearsome physical power, clinical finishing and the ability to head a ball as hard as most players could kick it, Pele was a force of nature on the football field. He scored more than 1,000 goals in his career, mostly for Brazilian club Santos, and retired after a two-year spell in the United States at New York Cosmos in the mid-1970s.
You don't need to have been alive while Pele was in his prime to appreciate the impact 'The King' - who scored 77 times in 92 games for Brazil - had on the beautiful game. As a young boy, I remember having to give a speech on a famous person to my class at school and I chose Pele. In the days before the internet, the football knowledge I'd soaked up in my formative years were enough to tell the great man's story.
Little did I know at the time that the captain of Argentina, who I then hated for knocking England out of the 1986 World Cup, would finish his career as Pele's only real rival for the title of football's greatest player.
Growing up in desperate poverty in the shantytown of Villa Fiorito in Buenos Aires, Maradona's was the classic rags-to-riches story. Similarly outstanding in his teens this was a boy clearly touched by genius, making his international debut at 16 and scoring 34 times in 91 games for the country he was so passionate about.
Unlike Pele, however, much of Maradona's career was tainted with controversy. For every wonder goal there was a scandal to match, with the 1986 quarter-final against England perfectly encapsulating El Diego. Four minutes after his 'Hand of God' put Argentina ahead, he wove his way through the England defence to score, at least in my opinion, the greatest goal the game has seen.
As a five-year-old who didn't fully understand what had happened, I cried at the unjust nature of Maradona's victory and rejoiced when he lost the final four years later, delighted that this time his World Cup had ended in tears too.
These days, I own a T-shirt with a graphic illustration of THAT goal - a moment of such hypnotic, artistic beauty I could watch it a million times over. Time truly is a great healer.
He almost single-handedly won the 1986 World Cup as well as two Serie A titles with unfashionable Napoli and his breathtaking close ball control, allied to a warrior's determination and a wonderful arrogance in front of goal made him as near to unplayable as a footballer has ever been. Think Lionel Messi, only better.
Of course, no Maradona discussion can ever take place without mention of the drug abuse that nearly cost him his life or the multitude of controversies that seem to follow his every move. That much was highlighted during his spell as Argentina coach, which ended in typically furious fashion after the World Cup in South Africa when his side were humiliated by Germany in the quarter-finals.
But that only seems to intensify the debate as to who really is the best football player ever. Everyone has an opinion and it is a debate that even the sport's world governing body, Fifa, has been unable to settle convincingly.
In 2000, Fifa decided to have a vote to find the 'Player of the Century', which took the form of an online poll. Maradona won it comfortably, which led to concerns that the age of internet users meant more people who saw the Argentine play would be able to cast a vote than those of an older generation who saw Pele.
So Fifa asked its "football family" to decide, which consisted of two components - ballots sent in from subscribers of the organisation's quarterly magazine and those cast by a special international Fifa jury. Pele won that one by a landslide.
When it came to the Rome gala, Fifa decided to split the award in two and announced Pele and Maradona as the two greatest players of all time. "I had the vote of the people, Pele won by forfeit," said Maradona, who walked out of the auditorium before watching the Brazilian collect his award.
Their so-called feud has gone on for years, but is it borne out of genuine animosity or it is nothing more than fabricated fun? It threatened to get serious in 2000 when Maradona accused Pele of letting his former Brazil team-mate Garrincha "die in misery", which Pele put down to Maradona being "an ill man".
However, when Maradona began a new career as a chat-show host in Argentina in 2005, Pele was the first guest he invited on, the pair chatting away amiably and even indulging the audience in some head tennis. Pele congratulated Maradona on beating his drug addiction, telling him: "You are an example because you are a conqueror".
On the show, Maradona body swerved the question of who was the better player. "My mother says it was me and Pele's mother says it was him," he said.
For the record my mum reckons Pele edges it, but it is a debate that will run for time immemorial. As we celebrate milestones in both of their lives, it seems like a good time to reflect on the incredible memories both Pele and Maradona gave us and, for the umpteenth time, ask ourselves one of football's favourite questions.
I'd love to hear your favourite stories of both men. But who do you think is really the greatest footballer that ever lived?