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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:

    Mardon, neither you nor haokip have read all my posts. Multiple times I have stated that Pele did depend on Garrincha, Didi, and Zagallo. Those 3 provided ammunition for Pele to score goals on. And the same is so for Messi with his teammates at Barcalona.

    So you can’t say I’m blinded by Pele’s fantastic skills. Neither have I been blinded by Messi’s. To say that Pele would have not have achieved anything, however, is bullshit, and the same is so for Messi. Here’s what’s certain: both wouldn’t have achieved as much as they have if it weren’t for teammates.

    I’ve said this stuff before. No offense, Mardon, as you actually have provided a consistent argument that is actually good, but you sounded just like Haokip and ALL the other Messi fans here: broken records. The reason why I hit on the same things is that every Messi fan hits on the same things. And most of them don’t even provide a good argument, if they even come back to argue at all. Maybe you guys should go back and read every single post that me, Cloud, and Russ Ru have made. We’ve made all remarks by Messi fans redundant. This hasn’t been any different.

  2. May b all d football fans should know that football isn’t 1man game . Pele dont bark Ur time is gone . U r d worst legend whom i never wanna remember n i never watched ur game .man of black in white era .

  3. adrin says:

    Pele still the greatest messi hasnt got to the highs of pele no matter what people think or want to think we will see in ten to fifteen years

  4. aaron says:

    a huge majority of pele’s goals were scored in friendlies against extremely inferior teams and players. look at a breakdown of his goals scored. sorry old man messi has already surpassed you. get over it!!!!!!!!

  5. Brad says:

    sorry but Messi still hasn’t played in a WC final, Pele played in- and won- 2 finals, and scored in both!!! sorry aaron, but Messi hasn’t surpassed Pele yet, hasn’t even drawn level, get over it!!!!!!

  6. Grayson says:

    Brad got it right, you’d be a naive fan of the game to think the best dribbler in the world now is all of a sudden the best ever. Achievements is what makes the grade in any ‘best of the best’ decision.
    Messi might have the edge at club level but Pele surpasses all at national level…and cut the crap about whose teammates are better, that is total hogwash…all these players have excellent teammates without them you can win nothing. No one man team exists and ever will – that’s why CR hasnt won a world cup yet and same goes for Messi. Its that simple lads.

  7. christian+2347032132745 says:

    No doubt Messi is a great player. He is still young and he has all the qualities to take him to the top. When it comes to achievements i believe Pele is ahead. This will be a wrong time to compare both soccer legends. Let us all wait till the end of Messi’s career then we will have a clearer picture. Remember that many players started so well but ended their career in a shameful way. Players don’t make names for themselves only on the pitch but also off the pitch. Let us all enjoy the beautiful game and not fight over it.

  8. Prince adeyemo says:

    Grad, i always cherish ur comments concerning messi,some people hate messi bcos they think age has anything to do wt achievement, leo is excel in football history

  9. Brad says:

    THANK YOU, Grayson. finally, someone besides me and Cloud has sense in them.

  10. Brad says:

    Prince, it doesn’t mean he’s already so much as drawn level with Pele, let alone beaten him. He’s earned his spot as a legend, but it’s too early to say he’s the best ever, and anyone who says he is. .. well, they’re a dumb one.

  11. James says:

    I believe Pele wouldn’t be able to produce the quality he had in today’s game! he played for Santos his whole footballer career pretty much and back then the Brazilians could afford to try him out at the age of 17+, i don’t think the Argentine squads of recent tournaments have helped Messi, and this debate will keep on going on and on, Pele’s friendly game goals were added to his statistics so that it self isn’t a fair debate, i adore messi and pele but think messi is better when having watched both play! I’m not biased, my fav players are honda, ibra, ronaldo, nedved, zidane and so on Pele also said Neymar is as good as Messi, maybe Pele is threatened by Messi’s amzing talent and that he dosn’t gloat about it! Pele just needs to let everything get on and adore the Messi show of this Era, yes pele is a legend and now its Messi’s turn.

  12. Brad says:

    Thing is, James, there’s no such thing as time travel, so no point in thinking about who’s quality would be better or worse in what era!!!

    But if you insist, Pele would do that. That’s honest. But the same goes for Messi, though in a different fashion.

    The reason why is that, while Messi wouldn’t be up against really good defenders, the defenders he would face would have license to perform knee surgery on him just as much as if they were playing Pele or Maradona. Those two legends right there took a real beating in pretty much every match. Now, Messi doesn’t get that. Why? Because physicality is frowned upon more nowadays, particularly in La Liga (I’ve said this stuff before, I believe). Defenders can’t just dive in and try to break his leg, so they have to hold themselves back. Thing is, that gives Messi the chance to blow past them and leave them for dead. So defenders are caught between a rock and a hard place. In Pele and Maradona’s days, that only happened if they got caught fouling. And yet the physicality of those old days meant that they didn’t get caught so much.

    Pele has praised Messi. He said it in this article. But even if you get technical about the friendly statistics (if you’d like, we can start including Messi’s statistics in friendlies) not counting, there’s still the thing about 3 World Cups. . . unless you truly are biased, which many people who’ve commented here are, you can’t rule that out, particularly when you include that Pele won 2 by the age Messi is now. And somehow, Messi doesn’t even have 1 WC.

  13. James says:

    you have a fair point, but what makes me drawn to this debate is that the poor quality of football during Pele’s era, watching clips of him at Santos and playing for Brazil just seemed like he was playing amateurs, maybe Pele was way ahead of his time and maybe you can take into account of evolution and how technology, equipment, coaches, and money has made the game in the 21st century more technical and more experienced. a harder platform to make that impact, there are glimpses of Messi being the complete footballer and it obvious how good he is whilst you watch on television,

    this ‘but he has no WC’s’ debate will go on, Pele only helped win 2 he was injured for one of them, if Argentina suddenly have a team as dominate as those Brazilians back then they could have a chance but you dont see that happening.

  14. Brad says:

    Indeed, and that’s the problem. As good as Messi is, particularly at club level, WC trophies are the ultimate determinate in a player’s career. Also, I don’t think we can help that Pele got injured. Much the same if Messi gets injured in Brazil 2014, and Argentina wins the tourney. . . . but that’s a “what if” thing, no point going there unless it really happens. Then he’d be just like Pele in 62. But when we talk about where Pele wasn’t injured, in 58 and 70, he played as the focal point for a superstar heavy team, much like how Messi is for Barca.

  15. JANI says:




  16. Brad says:

    How is it that “run+shoot=Pele” when really that should be “run+shoot=Messi”?

    Jani, you’re an idiot. You’re just another one of those just for the moment fans. . . and that’s useless.

    Messi may have more player of the year awards, but that’s nothing compared to winning the World Cup. Messi still hasn’t done that. Pele’s done it 3 times.

    Stop being so opinionated and go through the facts. You’re allowing yourself to be blinded like that, and you have the temerity to say that football was blind? You sound like a certain guy called Don. . . .

  17. Sam says:

    Jani you are a fanny u cannot say pele is run and shoot he is the standard of the greatest player of all time that messi should be aiming to achieve yes messi is great at club level but with international he is pretty shit didn’t score a goal in the last world cup so he has a long way before Hes winning 1 because argentinas team is nowere near good to win it and Spain are the only team to replicate the brazzilians back in the day

  18. peter says:

    messi has won under-21 worldcup,d olympic gold,three champions league,three ballon d ‘o nd 5 spanish league nd goals to colour his achievement to me pele is just being jealous abt messi

  19. joe says:

    Jani is very right Pele and Ronaldo lack what great players should have being a team player not caring bout yourself but about the team messi creates and scores so many goals without being selfish provides it in the big games and broke into a team with henry, eto’o and ronaldinho and brad your argument is stupid because world cups are won by team meaning pele was in a better team not meaning he was one of the best players you could have stuck heskey in that 1970 brazil team and they would have won. Messi has smashed records and one individual prizes in a tougher era ive watched videos of pele play and in the 21st century he would be an average player ronaldo (brazil) was much better than him and played in a much tougher club league end of convo

  20. Qosta says:

    They r bth great at their tyms…n after some tym they will all both be history

  21. nanu says:

    hee….hee…!!wat a stupid fellow jani…..do u hv sme sense!!d way u talk bout pele…it seems like he z nthng just a monkey……i want 2 say det plz cntrol ua emtns n blndnss amng messi k…..!!i agreed that nw messi iz eligible to compte wid pele’s record….!!bt we ol knws det evn messi hmslf agreed that ol time greatst plyr evr iz pele….!!!!n so dets y messi is tryng 2 brke his record. so do knw d meaning of w.c…!!just emagine hw big tournamnt is it.,theres no need to explain bout it…..bt messi has nt 1 yet so far…..lets c wats gnna b hppn in future lets wait watch…..!!!!so i hv 2 said that still pele’s d no.1 legend….!!

  22. rossi says:

    i apreciate with nanu’s points…!!itz honourd to b parts in evn team sqaud hu won d w.c cup….so i think its gnna b vry2 tough to brke pele.’s record…!!he grtst legend evr knw….bt messi has a chance to bRke his record.

  23. Tony Hibbert says:

    I don’t see why you are all saying Pele played ‘amateurs’ as the only thing that really matters is that he still had to put the ball in the back of the net.
    Pele had done it more times than Messi has at WC’s leading to his three medals, therefore he is and will be for many years, better than Messi.

  24. nick says:

    im sorry to every messi fan but messi still has to be better than cr7 and the brazilian ronaldo and former teammate ronaldhino and he will never be like pele and no one else in the world will idc if its pele’s son

  25. bator says:

    Messi is the best player in the rorld. Because if messi wasnt the best he couldent win the ballon dor or the golden ball.
    And he became the first player to score 5 goals in the uefa champions 6teams.
    cr7 has a long way to catch up to messi and he is old as some of my friends say he is 28 years old and retire earlier then messi.
    he is the best and will score 4000 goals and break pele”s record.

  26. joe says:

    Pele is definitely not the best there are many players better than him his record means nothing as he hardly played in a competitive tough match its like putting messi up against accrington stanley every week maybe messi might not be the best ever but it isn’t a debate between who is better out of messi and pele and although world cups are important i can judge messi by his champions league performances

  27. rossi says:

    bcoz……!!maxmum of fans luv barca…..!!as we knw det messi ply wel in barca excpt country matchs… dets y messi hv won 3 ballon’dor…..!!!if we judge wel messi vs cr7….messi may b awy from cr7 in league bt cr7 hv plyd lot lot mre den…messi both clubs n country mtchs….if we count wen cr7 in man.utd…!!personaly cr7 u hv provd urslf u hv a capacity to ply in any clubs…!!!bt i dnt think messi wld able to do that…

  28. hiii……..@nick u hv made a exact point…..luv u cr7..!!in ma point of veiw he is ma oltme best plyer eva…..coz he’s got evrythng…money,luks,talent,phycl,.dnt no d world wats gossing bout hm bt i truely luv cr7….

  29. Rick says:

    What a stupid topic of discussion.. messi isn`t elligible to become a participant if d comparision is wid ronaldo(brazil).. & pele? I haven`t wached too many videos of him.. his records denote what is he.. not a matter of joke to play d world cup for 5times in d 1st squad… he didn’t need drugs like maradona .. even he denied d opportinity of europe..& messi?? Barcelona since 15yrs.. giving arguments of health prblms… messi is a legend indeed..bt nt infront of ronaldo(brazil) 1st of all.. messi wasn`t famous at d age of 19 like neymar…all d messi fans must know actions speaks louder dan words..

  30. pure24 says:

    Thing you should know is that there is no such thing as ‘best player’… That is why the Ballon d’Or is the award for ‘player of the year’. Even goalkeepers have made invaluable contribution to the beautiful game.
    Messi is very good. No, he is amazing – but look up soccer and read what the sport is all about. U will not see ‘dribbling’, or ‘ball control’. Soccer is ‘trying to put the ball in the back of the opposition’s net while stopping them from doing the same’.
    Legends are legends whether you like it, believe it, want it or not…
    Its like the way Brazil are still the ultimate team because of their world cup record. The biggest sport event in the world. The ultimate test for the soccer player; doing it for your country, and not the organization with enough money to buy talent. You win that, and – like it or not – you will be legend

  31. Tim says:

    Ok, I’ll be the one to say it. The fact of the matter is that messi is he present while pele has only got memories of the past. Why he and maradona continue to rave about something just as controversial as politics is beyond me. The sad thing is that football or soccer or whatever you call it is supposed to be the “beautiful game”; what pele does is almost a crime by tarnishing it with a debate that can’t and never will be solved. It can be proven that pele and maradona are this way just by the coincidence that neither player are in any version of FIFA because who knows how much controversy would erupt if one was rated any more highly than the other.

  32. Z says:

    messi is amazing but when it comes to records and world cups pele has the edge over messi.

    although pele played in the brazilian league he still had to put the ball in the back of the net

    messi is my alltime favourite player even though pele has the edge over him

    give meessi till the end of his carrea to get the accomplishments that pele lrft. i think messi can surpass pele but give him time to do so


  33. shop says:

    Comparing Pele nd Messi,i tink it wasn’t right.Pele is a legend we all knw,bt pele has gone he is not coming back to show skills in the picth,Messi is stil playin nd he is doing his best.Lets just wait till the end of Messi’s carrier.If he take it to the highest level which Pele has done i think he will beat Pele without any doubt.For nw Pele is stil the greastest of all.

  34. tage says:

    1. maradona.
    2. messi.
    3. ronaldo.
    4. pele.

  35. craig j says:

    How the hell can u say pelle is better because of two world cups ? he had an imense team behind him and a top manager thats a cup that a team wins not a player. so please dont rate these players on world cups rate them on assists goals and minutes played END OF!

  36. craig j says:

    pele even sorry

  37. ryan says:

    Pele needs to get over himself. Yes he was an incredible player, but he can never say anything positive about messi without talking about how great he himself is. Pele we love you but get over yourself man your time is over. Move aside for the new generation’s talent.

  38. Bill Gardner says:

    I’ve seen Pele and Messi in person, they are or were both fantastic. Pele reinvented football in an era when it was all longballs and defending, Messi is a great scorer but until he dominates on the International Level he cannot be compared to the greatest of all time. When Pele played the chances in Europe were not there for foreign players and the best teams in the World were the Brazilian ones. The game is different now, no more back passes to the keepers hands, what was an acceptable challenge in the 60’s would get a straight red today. The question is would Pele if he were 25 today be as great, I say he would be better as he would have more time and space and less injuries, Messi on the other hand would have a harder time going back in time and playing old school football but he could do it just now that all the rule changes have made the game more open and more stylish, and far less demanding.

  39. mandla says:

    Having read all the articles about messi and pele am yet to get a response from messi! am sure he is so humbled by the whole comparison thing but what has he to say!! please assist me with information to that regard if any!!

  40. Brad says:

    Oops. messed up right there. . . -.-

    Ryan, the thing is, people like to trash Pele and say Messi is the best ever. How that is when he typically only performs at club level, but not at international level. Sure he got a hat trick recently in a friendly against Brazil, but it was a friendly. Much like how quite a few of Pele’s goals were, but only Pele gets criticized for it.

    Exactly how you can compare Messi to Pele favorably is beyond me. Pele has 3 WCs. He performed at club AND international levels. Messi has yet to have won a senior level WC (someone mentioned U-21 WC win earlier, as if that helps Messi against 3 senior WC wins) and normally doesn’t perform for Argentina like he does for Barca. That means he’s still lacking the international level standout.

    Pele is still the best ever, regardless of how arrogant (not to mention, repetitive, which makes it annoying even for me) he sounds. Messi still has a chance of beating him and becoming the best player ever, but he hasn’t even reached the semis of the WC, let alone won that competition.

  41. Brad says:

    Also, Z, I love that comment.

  42. Brad says:

    Jeez, I shouldn’t have stopped reading!

    Craig J, Point One, Pele won 3, not 2. Point Two, if you want to downgrade Pele’s achievements for Brazil, then you must downgrade Messi’s for Barca. So don’t rate them on just what they do at one level, rate them on BOTH. Pele still played spectacularly for Santos, even though he didn’t have the exact same teammates (or ones of the same caliber) as he did with Brazil.

    Tell me, someone, ANYONE, if Messi truly is the best ever, how is it he only has the meaningfully spectacular performances at Barca, but only occasionally for Argentina will he put in a spectacular performance? And yet, people think he’s better than Pele who did it for both club AND country?

  43. Tim says:

    BRAD– I’m not saying that messi is he best ever, but if you compare messi’s teammates on Argentina to pele’s from brazil you should be able to agree that the Brazilian team had a lot more quality than messi has for help in comparison.

  44. gree282 says:

    Pele had a spe tacular team around him for every world cup. All the players excelled in their positions. All mess I has is te ez andaguero. The teams are not equal at all therefore world cups cannot be used to compare these players… the champions league is more competitive anyway. Mess I

  45. robert atwiine says:


  46. B says:

    It doesn’t matter who had the better team mates because players are judged with statistics, with world cups being the best one to have next to your name, Pele had three i believe, messi zero. History will only remember the numbers, like goals scored, games played and big trophies eg. world cups.Messi is the best player of this generation but not of all time although he still has a chance to attain that title. I do also think that the styles of the era’s in which players play/ed are totally different, red card tackles nowadays would be a perfectly normal tackles back then. So there is not as much time for the player to think about how he will get round the defender. Today there is more time to think because tackles are more controlled and not flying at your knees. I tried not to be biased. But i find it hard to compare because of how different the stlye of football is between the two era’s.

  47. Bunts says:

    Hi everyone,
    Football is not a one man game, but 1 man can make all the difference. I have seen numerous games of mr messi and mr pele. Probably to early to decide ,however I would like to say with out prejudice pele much, much better in the air, probably a more complete athlete , and what he used to do with inferior boots and balls was just out standing, and I would put maradona ahead of messi at this stage anyway. Pele and Messi both divinely blessed that’s for sure, Maradona probably blessed too , but from the other guy.

  48. SamEdwards says:

    Messi not up to Pele yet? Ok we will give him that. But there never being another Pele? Out of the question. Messi is only 25

  49. Hector says:

    Here is the question??? Is a champions league level better or the same as a world cup??? If it’s better or the same shouldn’t that be credited as a world cup championship?? Now… Who is the best!! Messi or Pele??

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