Former Brazil striker Pele claims he was a more complete player than Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, as he dismisses the Argentine’s stake for a place in history.
Messi is Barcelona and Argentina’s all-time record goalscorer, a five-time Ballon d’Or winner, four-time Champions League winner and nine-time La Liga winner, having spent over a decade at the very top of the game.
The 31-year-old superstar is widely considered to be the best player in the world, with many experts even going as far as saying he is the greatest footballer in the history of the game, but there is one man who wholeheartedly disagrees with that opinion.
According to the Independent, three-time World Cup winner Pele does not consider Messi to be in the same class as he was during his own playing days, as he states that the Barca talisman has just ‘one skill’ to call upon.
“How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn’t head the ball well?” the Brazilian told Folha de Sao Paulo, as per the Independent.
“How can you compare? To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers.”
Pele then went on to compare Messi with Argentina’s favourite son, Diego Maradona, who led his nation to a 1986 World Cup win, insisting that the Blaugrana captain has not reached the same level as his fellow countryman did.
“As far as I’m concerned, Maradona was one of the best players ever,” he added. “If you ask me, ‘Was he better than Messi?’ Yes, he was. Much better. [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Johan] Cruyff were also excellent players.”
Messi’s amazing talent has wowed audiences consistently for years and even as he approaches the latter stages of his career he still has the power to get people off their seats, while seeing things on a football pitch that no else does.
The Barca magician’s superb dribbling ability, outstanding range of passing and unmatched understanding of the game is something truly special and unique. A talent like Messi’s comes along once in a lifetime and for Pele to dismiss his influence on the game in such emphatic fashion is quite frankly astonishing.
The Brazilian’s comments have not gone down well with fans on social media, with many labelling him as ‘overrated’ and questioning his own status in history.
Check out some of the reaction to Pele’s comments below, via Twitter.
Man was counting military goals. Nah honestly fuck this guy. Pele was the biggest fraud ???? pic.twitter.com/60n4v4PbnT
— F?HI ? (@feeFahifofum) December 6, 2018
Time to put Pele in a home. https://t.co/mWRfQAZLgj
— Elliot Hackney (@ElliotHackney) December 6, 2018
Pele thinks Leo Messi can’t head the ball or use his right foot.
Not sure about that…? pic.twitter.com/E91d02aux8
— BarcaTimes (@BarcaTimes) December 6, 2018
The Greatest. pic.twitter.com/HpIi6eMyvo
— My Greatest 11 ? (@MyGreatest11) December 6, 2018
Look at the state of the defenders when Pele played man, never want to hear this buffoon chat smack about modern day footballers again pic.twitter.com/05w1KRlgWg
— Matt (@MessiLob) December 6, 2018
Anyway, there is a reason Pele and Maradona are insecure about Messi. And I don’t have to explain why, everyone knows it.
— Josip ?? (@jperkovic93) December 6, 2018
Pelé and Maradona are so insecure with these Messi comments that is funny, even more when you realize they’re grown 95 year-old men. https://t.co/KW8aKDXwNT
— S????’s R??s ?? (@Robertonical) December 6, 2018