It's impossible and unfair to compare players from different ages. Different levels of physical fitness, poorer pitches and psychotic defenders are just some variables to contend with. Also, the definition of 'best player' is impossible due to the fact that comparing players who play in different positions is futile. However, Best was certainly a player who stood out, with his ability to use both feet well, incisive dribbling and lethal finishing - a Ronaldo/Messi of old. Of the modern players who could compete for this crown, I'm shocked that nobody has considered Paul Scholes! Here are some quotes about him:
“Paul Scholes would have been one of my first choices for putting together a great team - that goes to show how highly I have always rated him. He would have been one of the first players I’d have bought, given the chance" - Marcello Lippi
"I'm not the best, Paul Scholes is" - Edgar Davids
"An amazingly gifted player who remained an unaffected human being" - Roy Keane
"Without any doubt it has to be Paul Scholes, Man United's midfielder" - Thierry Henry when asked who the best player in the Premiership was (2004).
Eidur Gudjohnsen : "I'm more an admirer of Paul Scholes than I am of Ronaldo. Ronaldo is a fantastic player, but he has 10 other great players around him every week...Scholes is one of the most complete footballers I've ever seen. His one-touch play is phenomenal. Whenever I have played against him, I never felt I could get close to him."
Glenn Hoddle : "There isn’t a player of his mould anywhere else in the world."
Cesc Fabregas : "He is the one whose level I aspire to. He is the best player in the Premier League."
Zinedine Zidane : "My toughest opponent? Scholes of Manchester. He is the complete midfielder."
Zinedine Zidane : "Scholes is undoubtedly the best midfielder of his generation."
Gordon Strachan : "Paul Scholes has been the best England midfield player for 30-odd years. You'd probably have to go back to Bobby Charlton to find someone who could do as much as Scholes. When the ball arrives at his feet he could tell you where every player on that pitch is at that moment. His awareness is superb."
Veron while at Chelsea being asked in an interview who's the best english player : "Paul Scholes."
Peter Schmeichel : "People say he is a great player, but you have to define what a great player is, For me, it is a player who has a bottom level that means his worst performance is not noticed.If he is having a bad game, a team-mate might feel Paul Scholes is not quite on his game, but a spectator wouldn't notice. Scholes, of all the players I have played with, has the highest bottom level. His reading of the game is unsurpassed.He has an eye for a pass, for what the play or the game needs at that precise moment, that I have never seen anyone else have. He controls and distributes the play and the game better than anyone I have ever seen."
Laurent Blanc : "Scholes is the best English player. Intelligence, technique, strength... all the attributes are there. At Manchester United I saw what he could do on the training field. Phew!"
Michael Carrick : "He is a legend and he's going to be remembered for a long time. Just to play alongside him and learn from him has been an absolute pleasure. I think he is a footballer's footballer; he has been at this level for so long. As long as he is part of us we always feel we have a chance. We appreciate the way he goes about his business. I have never met a character like Scholesy; certainly not someone who is that good."
David Beckham said that, among his teammates at Real Madrid, which included Zinedine Zidane, Raúl, Ronaldo, Luís Figo and Roberto Carlos, Scholes was the most admired opponent : "He's always one of those people others talk about. Even playing at Real Madrid, the players always say to me 'what's he like'? They respect him as a footballer, and to have that respect from some of those players is great."
Sir Bobby Charlton : "I am sorry for England because they don't have any player like him. You can talk about others but there is no one else like him. He is the best technical player England has without any question. He could have had a lot more caps if he had carried on. And if I was the manager he would have ended up with more than I did – easy"
Sir Alex Ferguson : "Very few players can do that, but Scholes is one of them - and I knew he was one of them. That's why, without question, I think Paul Scholes is the best player in England. He's got the best skills, the best brain. No one can match him."
Sir Alex Ferguson : Sir Alex Ferguson gave evidence in court on behalf of one of his former trainees and listened to the prosecution barrister's list of United's top players.
"You've missed Paul Scholes - and he's my best player," Ferguson chided her.
I think you can guess who mine, and many other people's votes would go to.