Pele claims he was a better player than ‘one skill’ Lionel Messi and urges Neymar to cut out the diving

Pele believes that he was a much better player than Messi

Jack Watson
Thursday 06 December 2018 12:02
Lionel Messi wins the Ballon d'Or award for an unprecedented fifth time in 2016

Brazilian football legend Pele has launched an astonishing attack on Barcelona star Lionel Messi by claiming he has just ‘one-skill’.

The three-time World Cup winner claimed he was the better player because he was a more complete performer than the Argentina forward.

Pele also added that Diego Maradona was a ‘much better’ player than the five-time Ballon D’Or winner as he addressed a wave of assessments of the current crop of the world’s best players.

“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?” Pele told Folha de Sao Paulo when asked about Messi.

Pele believes that Lionel Messi is not as good as he was (Getty)

“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.”

He also dismissed any claims that there are similarities between Messi and Maradona, who he believes is one of the greatest players of all time.

"As far as I’m concerned, Maradona was one of the best players ever. If you ask me, 'Was he better than Messi?' Yes, he was. Much better. [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Johan] Cruyff were also excellent players."

Neymar has been heavily compared with Pele, whether it’s their goal record for Brazil or the weight of expectation their country places on them, and while the 78-year-old believes the Paris Saint-Germain forward is a ‘gifted’ player, he has urged him to stop his diving and playacting.

“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,” said Pele.

“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.’”

As he continued to be asked about various young stars and players that are beginning to show signs of resembling his talent at a young age, Pele moved on to discuss PSG and France international Kylian Mbappe but said his club teammate Neymar is the better player.

“People compare me with Mbappe and there are similarities, 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.”

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