Pele on why he cannot be compared to Lionel Messi
Brazilian football legend Pele has stirred up a storm by claiming he was a better player than Barcelona star Lionel Messi.
The three-time World Cup winner is convinced he cannot be compared with the Argentine forward who only has “one-skill”
Pele, while assessing the current crop of the best players in the world is further convinced that Diego Maradona was a “much better” player than the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
When asked about Messi by Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, Pele said: “How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right and another guy who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn’t head the ball well?
“How can you compare? To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots with the right, and scores headers.”
The 78-year-old further rubbished claims of there being any similarities between Messi and Maradona.
“As far as I’m concerned, Maradona was one of the best players ever. If you ask me. If you ask me, ‘Was he better than Messi?’ Yes, he was. Much better. [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Johan] Cruyff were also excellent players.”
On Neymar, Pele said:
“It’s difficult to defend Neymar for all the things he does besides playing football. I spoke with him and reminded him of his ability.
“He was unlucky because Brazil did not win the World Cup and he was singled out.
“I’ve been with him in Europe twice. We talked and I explained: ‘The God of football gave you the gift. What you do complicates it.”
Pele also discussed Paris-Saint-Germain and French forward Kylian Mbappe noting that although the focus in Europe is on the 19-year-old, Neymar is the better player.
“People compare me with Mbappe and there are similarities right, right? But he is already 19. He won the World Cup.
“I think Neymar is a more complete player than him, but in Europe, everyone speaks more about Mbappe.”