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Forget Lionel Messi And Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United Legend George Best ''Would Have Been The Greatest In Any Era''

George Best could have been a superstar in any era says his friend, Sir Michael Parkinson
George Best could have been a superstar in any era says his friend, Sir Michael Parkinson

Sir Michael Parkinson has been talking about his great friend George Best ahead of the 13th anniversary of the Manchester United legend's death.

Parkinson has launched a book called 'George Best - A Memoir' detailing the pair's relationship which started in the 1960s when Parkinson worked for Manchester-based Granada.

"Manchester was a very exciting place to be and you wouldn't want to be anywhere else in those days," Parkinson told Granada Reports. "George was an important aspect of that."

When asked if Best deserved to be mentioned in the same bracket of modern-day superstars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Parkinson believed the question should be turned on its head, saying: "The question should be, would Messi be good enough to play in George's day. It was a different game of football - it really was in those days.

"He was irresistible in many ways. George could have played in Messi's day and could have been even better because the conditions now are so much better with the pitches and the players not being allowed to kick players like they did with George.

"That might have saved him - if he had the discipline to not live the life he did. Now the care and attention given to footballers with all the experts who surround them to solve their problems. He was a man alone. He redefined stardom. Nobody before or since has had his charisma never mind his skill."

Tales of Best's liking for life outside football are of course legendary. Parkinson recalled that Best stayed at his home many times: "He would always bring a guest back. He'd ring and tell me he was coming down for a few days and ask if I minded if he brought a girlfriend down. I'd wake up the next morning and go down for a cup of tea and there would be some glorious looking creature in a party frock drifting down the stairs offering to do the washing up."   

Parkinson said that Best's drink problems were always a concern but not something he was able to help with. "What he didn't know and what we didn't know is that he was an alcoholic," said Parkinson. "It's different from being a heavy drinker. George was ill, he was sick and nobody cottoned on that this was a problem."

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