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Pele: I have edge over Messi

Brazil legend Pele has praised Barcelona star Lionel Messi, but noted that the 24-year-old still has a long way to catch the football legend.

Argentina international Messi became the second player in the history of the Ballon d’Or to win the prestigious award three times in a row when he lifted the title earlier this month in Zurich.

Pele acknowledged that he is a fan of Messi, but stressed that the diminutive attacker faces a hard task to equal him.

“Technically speaking, we are practically at the same level,” Pele told Le Monde. “We have both received a gift from God.”

“Records are made to be broken, but it will be hard to break mine. When Messi has scored 1,283 goals and won three World Cups, then we will talk.”

“People ask me all the time when there will be a new Pele. I tell them: ‘Never’. My parents shut down the factory.”

Fri 20 Jan, 2012
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  1. Brad says:

    We can’t as Messi has yet to truly perform for Argentina at a major international tournament.

  2. Marjan says:

    Hai guys,

    Lots of people defending Pele mention his 1282 goals in a career ( nota been all in Brasil league, US league and national squad) but when I look at wiki it says that Pele scored far less goals (approx. 720) so where did he score remaining goals?


  3. magugu says:

    pure@u hate Messi….dats all i can say

  4. magugu says:

    pele 3 world cups,1283 goals……………………….Messi 4 Ballon d”Or,91 goals a calender

  5. Brad says:

    Marjan, they were in friendlies. Yeah, Wiki has the 700+ goal thing, but if you were to scroll down a good bit, you’d notice a kind of stat sheet that shows games where the tally increases to 1282. FIFA considers that to be the official tally for his career.

    And don’t bother trying to downgrade Brazil league. Back then, the Brazilian players played at their peak performance in Brazil. Therefore, the best players stayed home. The same went for the best players in other countries (Alfredo di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas being notable exceptions). It’s only been since the 80s that players have started moving at will all across the globe; the best of them always going to Europe, particularly England, Italy, and, ahem, Spain.

  6. tm says:

    R u Mad Pale?

  7. pure24 says:

    Hating has nothing to do with the facts – I hate classical music, but appreciate that it’s the best kind of music available. Hate poetry, but good luck finding a better piece of literature anywhere… Messi IS the greatest player currently in professional soccer. Messi however, is NOT the greatest player ever. That is still reserved for the best of the best, the people who have it all – people who have achieved the ultimate – both home and away. And we can all agree that Messi’s career has not been exactly perfect all-round. And Messi’s amazing career has spanned only four years. That is hardly worth the best-of-the-best material!

    Pointing fingers; “you hate this”, “you are rude”, “Pele is insecure” simply distracts from the facts. That Pele has done way, way more than Messi so far. I say “so far” because Messi still has the potential to annihilate Pele, but he is not just there yet! The truth is, we DO NOT know if Messi will have way better achievements than Pele’s by the time he retires. Instead of speculating, we can talk about right now, and right now, Messi has some catching up to do

  8. Brad says:

    Amen, Pure. Unfortunately, some dolt is going to ignore what you say and continue to insult Pele, avoid the facts, and run away when we correct them.

  9. Kwaku Tuffour says:

    Oh whatever man…Argentina will show their worth soon enough its inevitable. They hardly have the teamwork that Brazil had during that time. Theres no long way to go Messi is in a league of his own, these stats mean nothing. The impact hes had is mind blowing because of Messi’s uncontested talent Barcelona and Spain will dominate.

  10. pure24 says:

    @Kwaku exactly what we are talking about, and Brad + others will attest – Why do stats mean nothing? Aren’t stats EXACTLY what you use to support Messi against Ronaldo???

    Come on man! give us reasons that have weight… If this were in court, your reasons of “if”, “when” and “will” would hold no water whatsoever. Now you are some kind of prophet or fortune teller? I mean, I can also say Messi gets a permanent drop in form from this night’s El Clasico!!!

    OPINION: Messi’s style is more attractive than Pele’s was.
    OPINION: Messi faces tougher defenders than Pele did.
    OPINION: Stats are rubbish!
    OPINION: World cup doesn’t mean a thing.
    OPINION: Pele didn’t actually score 1,283 goals.
    OPINION: Pele played in a tougher league.
    OPINION: Messi will have a career-ending injury.

    FACT: Pele has nearly a thousand MORE goals than Messi currently has.
    FACT: Club soccer is only as successful as the talent a club is able to bring (Man City will testify).
    FACT: The World Cup is the largest tournament in the WORLD. It is the greatest achievement a team can EVER have.
    FACT: NOBODY can tell the future.

  11. Brad says:

    The only reason this Kwaku guy said that is cause the stats do not favor his argument for a change.

    Another thing, Argentina typically don’t have teamwork, so it’s safe to assume that it’s not going to change. Argentina are known more for producing charismatic individuals (think Maradona and Tevez) whilst Brazil brings out individuals who do everything for the team, and not themselves.

    Now, let’s watch Kwaku run away. . .

  12. ed says:

    Once Pele scored 6 goals against against a very strong Girl Scout squad.

  13. pure24 says:

    ahahahahahahahahahaha…. Very funny.

  14. Brad says:

    yeah, it is. I actually did laugh at his sorry insult.

  15. Byaro says:

    Why are we arguing about hoe a 80 year old dude played and a 25 year old dude plays ……

    They where both talent
    But its also a sense of taste

    If u think what pele did was more
    .. Then ur right

    U think what messi did is more ikportant

    Mabye ur right also

  16. messi is just good. says:

    messi is just good.

  17. Brad says:

    ^look at this guy, give us something that’s more real.

  18. pure24 says:

    If u think what pele did was more
    .. Then ur right

    U think what messi did is more ikportant

    Mabye ur right also



  19. Richard chaggs says:

    Pele was and is stil the best but is ful of stupidity…..his 1283 goals raise eyebrows nw.if u a a legend then why making noise.people wil talk for u.he should learn to be well composed.

  20. arshad says:

    pele is a third class player as compare to messi.

  21. Michael says:

    Please, people. When Messi’s career is over, then you can compare him to Pele. Pele didnt stay in the same garbage league as Messi is. Put him in the BPL and then start talking…

  22. Anan says:

    I can’t compare Messi to Pele now for many reasons:
    – first, nowadays, we all know that referees protect stricker more than they did at Pele’s time. so Pele injuried many times. In spite of all this, Pele scored 1282 goals
    – second hand, Pelé had won 2 world cups but Messi o

  23. Brad says:

    Richard, people are talking for him. Have you not read the comments?

    Arshad, that was just plain dumb. Pele is superior to Messi. So if Pele is only third class, what does that make Messi? Certainly not 1st or 2nd class.

  24. Roseah Edo'o says:

    i luv messi but we agree together, that messi can’t break pele’s record.even if he dream for 1283 goals,he can’t win three world cup anymore.bcos dat will cost him 12 years plus dis, without loosing his form on hw he plays currently

  25. Seedorf says:

    Wen pele won d world cup, d teams werent up2 32, wen he scored all those goals goalkeeper werent usin handglove u&i knw hw vital a handglove is, wen pele was in active football dia werent d application of computer analysis to study d opponents, wen pele was active football was seen as a hubby dia4 everybody played it wit ease now its a bizness wit lots of money involve which means everybody is expected 2 justify dia wages. D d/f btw wen pele played d game & now is d dif btw black & white tv & samsung internet tv. Messi neva started as a centre forward rada as a winger check his goals per game ratio its 2gls every game if not more per game. Do not 4get his numba of assist .4 d past 4 seasons he has topped d assist chart he was only bettered last season on d chart by ozil. As 4 winning d world cup, its a mata of d nation one cumz from. U knw if he had nationalised in spain, u knw wat wud hv happened. A player like Ryan Giggs didnt play in any major int’l tournament until last olympic wit GB.

  26. Brad says:

    I don’t know if you’re trying to put Pele down, or simply explain how things go, Seedorf. . . . please clarify your position on this.

  27. Both Pele and Messi are legends! Let Pele be “Pele” and the truth is clear as the day…Messi yet has to win a World Cup for Argentina; Pele won three World Cups playing for Brazil. If you look at it in terms of technical skills with the ball, they have different styles. In general, only a great player knows how to compare himself to another great one. Winning a World Cup is the true test and Pele had passed the test!

  28. Soccer fans must understand that winning and excelling in Club levels present various soccer approaches. A player may do well at Club level but fail at World Cup level. The World Cup 2010 is a case of study: What happened to Argentina with Messi? On International level, goals and winning a World Cup do count. Messi has not compared himself to Pele yet. But Messi is another “Pele” without winning a World Cup!

  29. Brad says:

    well said Georges.

  30. mani segaran s/o velu says:

    pele is legend during the time football not developed well like now,technicaly,and the old fashion,but messi is doing magic on the field every time he plays now with wonderful technic/solo runs and scores goals every day,and messi never said anything about pele or even maradona,or comparing him to be like them……pls remember pele is pele……maradona is maradona………..and now messi’s time…….so the former legend’s can keep quite and see what messi is doing now…at this time the whole world is enjoying the way messi is playing football………….if you are declared as a legend,then pls keep ur mouth shut n stop critcising others,that’s the best way…

  31. hamada says:

    pele is a senil fool, i hate his types
    always talking shit about how he is the greatest of all time, PELE go eat a dick
    all of them are 10 times the player you were you fucking rubbish cluless person…defending and tactics are 100 times harder now, and specially against messi he played mostly against people parking the bus while you rubbish cunt played when teams played with 2 defenders and 6 strikers…
    i always get really pissed off by this pele charchter and maradona as well, atleast he doesnt talk rubbish about how he is still the best in history rubbish

    Pele, even morientes is 10 times the player you were…you played football when it had 20% of the quality and intensity of todays game so instead of talking shit go eat a dick and save your self the embaresment! because 99% of the people reading an article like this will laugh at you pele…

  32. hamada says:

    wow. its like any english fan actually being proud of the 66 world cup. pele is old history and both brazil and argentina won the world cup after him, it wasent becasue of him…any one who compares football in the last 20 years to any type of football prior to that is 15. or 14 because teams played 2-1-7, what the f are you talking about??? ofcourse pele scored 2-3 golas each game…pele only knew how to jump and shoot, he is like god damn heskey, he is a discrase to even 1% as good or as skilfull as messi or ronaldo…

  33. schoolfees says:

    world cup is nothing compared to UEFA Champions league, winning world cup is a team achivement, pele is not even the best scorer in the world cup that he claims that he had won, so what was his contridution in those world cups. even the other players that played with hhim can claim to have won those world cups.

  34. Anyone is entitled to his opinion. After all, this a fixture. Messi, has said that he is not comparing himself to anyone; if you read more features on this site, you’ll see his statements! Nevertheless, being somehow objective on this point, it remains a fact that Brazil won 5 World Cup Titles; Pele won 3 World Titles playing for Brazil. Without putting Messi in the picture, for FIFA this has gone into World record. As a great player in the PAST, Pele also watched soccer! Messi is also a great player! Pele likes Messi-and so does Messi. Let FIFA be the JUDGE. “Technicalyy,” Pele said “we’re on the same level.”

  35. As I said previously, anyone had his opinion about whom he considered to be the best soccer players. While I do not endeavour anyone to agree with me subjectively, Messi is a great player and would desire to win a World Cup playing for Argentina. And this is a fact! Technically speaking, Maradona, Pele, Zidane, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, German and English players exhibit different tactics on the pitch. By the way, I had written an article about World Cup 2014, which is titled: “the Prognosis” You may click on my name above to give your opinion on some of them. Thank you!

  36. Brad says:

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but they are also given brains and common sense (“common sense seems to be an oxymoron though) for a purpose: to know what’s/who’s better. Evidently, the Messi bandwagoners above have neither.

  37. Brad says:

    Another thing, notice how they’re opinions are: certain leagues/tournaments are only worthy if Messi has played/is playing in them AND won them.

    To quote a common rap phrase from my hometown: “You ain’t slick, you ain’t slick!”

  38. I believe that they are subjectively exaggerating in giving their opinions, and you’re right in that aspect. Thus, defending a player by how one feels about the player can be misleading; I perceive that your focus is fairly objective, which is somewhat good in terms of footballing conception. For instance, I used to comment on World Cup Brazilian blog, where many lauded my views on soccer; I hope that those who favor Messi over Pele ought to give fair and objective opinions; you’re right, of course, because some appear to be insulting Pele’s record instead of projecting well-informed opinions! There should be common sense and objective opinions when one tries to compare and comments! Your point, Brad, is pertinent to the post.

  39. To reiterate a point, I simply will say that Club side level is different from International level; a good coach trains each one in different ways. To excell at Club level is not the same as World Cup level: thus, discrediting Pele for his International’s record does not do justice to the game! I do not want to be repetitive, but: What did happen to Argentina in the World Cup 2010 with Messi? Although Messi is performing well, he yet desires to win a World Cup with the Argentinian squad. Finally, if it’s possible, one may comment on my site: There is a module about “The World Cup 2014: Prognosis” Click on my name to get to the site. Thank you to soccernews.com for the purpose of commenting in the site.

  40. Finally,an on-topic note: Pele said: “When Messi has scored 1281+ goals, won 3 World Cups,” then “he can talk with Messi!” In other words, for those non-reasonable and insulting comments about Pele, you’d better think twice before you say that Messi is better now than the unique legend Pele in the PAST. Simply, Messi does not think that he can compare himself to the King in Football, Pele!

  41. pure24 says:

    Eish, this blog has become so vulgar!!! Unfortunately, and all I have done is spot this out; all the insults come from the Messi supporters… Its funny how they put Messi as the ONLY soccer player. I am not belittling Messi in ANY way, just stating the facts. Facts thaat are more than slightly biased to my opinions, but still facts. Even the best worded insults will do nothing to prove your points guys – and personally, I think you are being both insensitive to other readers and unfair to the discussion. It just goes to show to the people who are actually interested in this topic that you guys are more supportive of Messi than you have brains – go ahead, get as vulgar as you want and give me your best shot!!!
    This may seem of topic, but this is what I mean – I do not actually want to be rude, and I do not mean that you guys are dumb/not human, but just that you have given no intelligent debate whatsoever. There is no objectivity in your arguments and not an ounce of evidence-based fact! I am yet to see a PROPER reason why Messi is the best – hats off to everyone who pointed out Messi’s record-breaking feats. However, reasons such as “Messi can dribble better”, “Messi scores in every game” or “Soccer is now more technical” is simply a bit too opinionated to be fact. Here’s my argument for all three of the above stated: One – what is dribbling? I mean, according to me, the best dribbler in the world is Hartem Ben-Arfa, seconded by Andres Iniesta! So what are we using as a rock-solid definition of “dribbling” so that there is an undeniable basis and no bias whatsoever as to who the best dribbler in the world is/ever was?
    Secondly, you say Messi scores whenever he wants… Are you listening to yourselves? No, I’m not arguing against the fact that he does not actually score in every game. I am saying that somebody who scores in every game is not supposed to have less than half the number of career goals that Pele has. Fine, Messi still has a full career ahead of him but saying he WILL surpass Pele is pure speculation.
    And lastly, I actually agree that soccer is more technical. Then again, so are the clubs themselves – Barcelona now has players from all over the world; they have the money to get pretty much anybody they want and they have a full panel of coaches and technical staff, including scouts who can sniff out talent from the remotest part of the world and lawyers who are so savvy that they can beat APPLE in a court battle any day! Now that, if anything, compared to a time when Pele had to use pure skill and played for a club which could only afford fellow countrymen, actually puts Pele even more in an advantage!!!

    Indeed, I have written more than I intended. Yet, I must state two more things: The FIFA World Cup is just THE biggest and best soccer tournament in the world. Fact. And Pele has just achieved THE most as compared to Messi. Appearances. Goals. Records. Fact.

  42. TO: Pure 24—Besides the post of Brad, I believe that you have your point about the Messi vs. Pele’s case. But, if you had paid attention to my posting, you would see that I emphasized all the way that Messi cannot be compared to Pele. But, for those who had insulted Pele’s record on this post, I would advise them to go the TOP of this page and click on INTERNATIONAL CUPS and then click where it indicates WORLD CUP—you’ll see an pertinent article about Messi explaining why he failed the 2006-2010 WCup [Date: 3-18-13]. I had made enough references defending objectively Messi vs. Pele [in the PAST] in my posts. Re-read my posts, especially the last one before yours and you’ll see what I mean!

  43. Messi’s own statements! GO to the TOP of this page and click on INTERNATIONAL CUPS -then scroll to where it indicates WORLD CUP—-There’s an article about Messi there! And, finally, Pele’s own words: “When Messi has scored 1,281+ and won 3 World Cups,” then “we can talk.” GOAL.COM [a previous article].

  44. Samin mahi says:

    Actually a world cup winning team needs 11 good players.Pele had other 10 good players but Argentina lacks defenders. To be honest messi is better than pele or maradona or figo and pele shoud be more polite.

  45. pure24 says:

    At Samin mahi , I agree that Pele was a bit too sarcastic, insensitive even. And he definitely came out as insecure – and again, the World Cup is also more than just about a single player…

    Messi’s record breaking feats are so amazing, and he’s always breaking more records that mostly its down to whom you hate the least/love the most. However, the very fact that World Cup trophies are more than just a player also emphasizes the fact that sometimes its more to do with personal opinion. And I am talking Ballon D’Or; its the greatest, most coveted award – yet, still a subjective thing. If you ask me, I think Iniesta and Sneijder should have won at least one apiece. And if you check, the winners are chosen by VOTE (not fans, but International managers, captains, journalists and the FIFA board).

    I think its only GOALS that are indisputable… well, not indisputable but the most solid proof of talent (except for goalies… and defenders. And some central midfielders) – and what do the goals tell us??? If this were the future, we would say Messi won FOUR FIFA World Player of the Year awards. And Pele scored OVER A THOUSAND career goals. So, once again: its a close one. Almost too close to call. ALMOST

  46. Brad says:

    Messi’s got a chance, Samin, to overtake Pele as the best ever footballer. But he hasn’t so much as equaled Pele, let alone bettered him, and his window’s closing fast.
    Pele’s stats speak for themselves, and the trophies he’s helped Brazil and Santos win to boot.

  47. Kwesi says:

    Personally I think Pele is not in the same class as Maradona, let alone Messi. Give credit where it’s due.

  48. Brad says:

    The credit goes to Pele then. His stats are more impressive than Messi’s AND Maradona’s, and so is Pele’s trophy haul.

  49. Amos says:

    Comparing a full time professional to a semipro…..
    Messi is playing at the highest level of football. Football has evolved from the world war days. I haven’t seen Pele play. Have seen some of his goals. I am not is position to talk about his performances. He seems to rate himself very high. Messi broke another record this weekend. This is what he had to say.
    “The least important thing is the streak, I was fortunate to score in all those games and help the team to keep on track. But that’s not important. We wanted to win after the effort of the squad that were selected but we could not”

    I have ample time for modest humans

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