In an interview with FOX Sports, “O Rei” continued to favor compatriot Neymar over Lionel Messi, who is generally considered the best player in the world, although his comments seemed more rational and less patriotic than his earlier effusive ramblings.
“Technically, Neymar has more skills than Messi. He can go to the left and right, he can shoot with both legs and he heads the ball well. Messi has a lot of experience, his thoughts on the ball are quick. They are both excellent players,” Pele said.
The Brazilian also chimed in on the endless debate over who was better between Messi and Real Madrid rival Cristiano Ronaldo: “Today players are very different from one another. Messi and Cristiano, for example. Their play is not similar in any way. Ronaldo is a pure striker, a scoring forward like Vava was. Messi plays further back. There is no comparison possible.”
Even so, Pele acknowledged that the Argentine was a step ahead of Ronaldo. “In this moment, Messi is the best.”
Pele had some other interesting comments in the interview, including saying what team he would play for if he were playing in the modern game.
“If I could pick the team to play for? Barcelona, of course. Everything is easier,” he said.
Finally, Pele talked about Neymar’s future and whether he should go to Europe immediately.
“I don’t agree that Neymar has to go to Europe right now. Last year, I spoke with [Neymar's people] and told them it wasn’t the time to go to England because the soccer over there is too rough and Neymar is an excellent player that doesn’t have the physique for it. That’s why I think he should get better and play at Santos for more time and get more experience.”
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Thumbnail photo via Flickr/Santos Futebol Clube