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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 January, 2012
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519 Comments:

  1. J says:

    I give my props to the great pele. But seriously this guy is the only one who still actually believes he is the best footballer of all time. And well that just isnt true. Messi although i am a big fan he still needs to win the world cup for him to become the best footballer in the history of the sport. BUT dont underestimate Messi cause you never know he might just take the world cup in peles home country. But as far as the greatest footballer of all time that honor i have to say goes to … MARADONA!!!

  2. mudassir ali says:

    well,well,well.as far as the best player is concerned they both are average.the best player who can even dribble against aliens is me MUDASSIR ALI .there you go.

  3. Brad says:

    @Tim, I know that, which is why I’ve compared how Messi plays for Barca to how Pele played for Brazil. The difference between the two is that Pele won major titles for both club and country.

    You have to have teammates who are talented too. You can’t just have guys who are average joes when compared to that one player who is viewed as the best in the world. That’s basically how it is with Argentina, even with those heavy hitters they have, Messi still needs better.

  4. Nigel Tabb Exeter says:

    Pele played well for his country Messi has disapointed while playing for argentina

  5. Franco11 says:

    dd u miss me in ur arguments gents i see brad u still stand firm.wers russ ru and clouds opinions

  6. Brad says:

    Oh hey, Franco. I have no clue where Cloud and Russ are. . .

    By the way, I didn’t even notice how much has happened here. . . bunch of people comment and I comment back.

  7. Marcos........ (Egede) says:

    Lionel Messi is d greatest footballer ever in worldof football. Not Pele or Maradona, bcos in time of Pele n Maradona der was no one to compear den on d pitch, why in d time of Lionel Messi we have much to compear him n yet he’s much more better den all of dem. Highly better dan dem all. I guse Pele is jelous over he’s Magic wit d ball on his left foot as if it belongs to him alone,’ we have Ronaldinho,C Ronaldo,Iniesta,Kaka n many more but der ar not of his level, he’s much more n highly d best of all. Pele should go have sit he is nobody compear to Messi.

  8. Marcos........ (Egede) says:

    Messi is just d best n dat is d truet.

  9. Brad says:

    Hey, Marcos, how about some facts, the opinion you gave is nothing new.

  10. Arif says:

    Pele is not aware of the reality. He talks whatever he likes-logical or illogical. Messi is someone who play alone to make difference while pele used to with mamy other to make the difference.So pele cannot be compared with Messi.

  11. Pure24 says:

    Guys!
    Eish, don’t let opinion get the better of you bcoz nobody will convince anybody. Then everybody will start fighting until somebody gets hurt…
    Firstly, never compare footballing times. Who’s to say it was ‘easier’ that time than this time? Only the memories of glorious events remain so its unfair to compare a few clips of one legend (yes, Pele is a legend – deal with it!) with all the might of the current superhero.
    Secondly, facts are facts. Ronaldo won the La Liga, but Messi bagged more goals – and hence he was a better soccer ‘striker’. However, Ronaldo was a more successful soccer ‘player’ in terms of league achievement…
    Lastly, the situations are different. Pele’s tally is up to retirement. Therefore, Messi will only be less than him if he retires with less goals and World Cup final trophies. But if you can’t wait, then just face the current facts, regardless of the personal feeling. Swallow your pride and admit it – Pele is a better ‘striker’ and ‘player’… Both on goal tallies and Soccer achievements (and don’t you go bringing the Champions League; because of the different regions they played in, only the World Cup counts).

  12. Jackman says:

    When u compare Ronaldo and Messi, you don’t say Real Madrid has less skilled players than Barca or Ronaldo can shoot better from huge distance, cross killer balls and take deadly freekicks as conpared to Messi. U say Messi broke records, and scored more goals. Why should you say different today – “Pele faced ‘easier’ defenders!!!”
    Who are you to judge skill and think your opinion will be accepted by everyone?!
    Fancy footwork, perfect balance and excellent ball control is all fine, but so is sprint speed, power, dribbling, stamina and vision.
    Pele might be a lousy old jealous fool (and I think he is), but that does not make him any less of a player and I’m sorry but, he is way, way better than Messi whether u argue or not. The facts are not biased. Humans are

  13. Brad says:

    Thank you, Jackman. Nicely phrased. and you, too, Pure24.

  14. NIGEL TABB EXETER ST PLYMOUTH says:

    Pele or Lional well to be honest Diago Maradonna was better than bith of them.

  15. NIGEL TABB EXETER ST PLYMOUTH says:

    both i meant lol

  16. Pure24 says:

    Thanks Brad!!!
    Its good to think facts… When did one-sided victory become the best victory? You make a good point…

  17. Allan says:

    As compare to those times Maradona is better than Pele. Pele is just a striker not a playmaker. A striker to score Goals, but as Pele said abt Messi he is wrong, he’s a playmaker n yet he score many goals.

  18. Brad says:

    3 World Cups> 1 World Cup> 0 World Cups.
    3 World Cup Final Match Goals> 0 for both Maradona AND Messi, the latter not even reaching the final by the age that Pele had already won TWO Championships. And don’t give me crap about Pele’s teammates, that’s just exactly where Messi gets his ammunition at club level: his teammates. Haven’t you noticed that Leo’s stats for the Albiceleste are far less impressive than his club records? Or, for that matter, Pele’s records for BOTH club AND country.
    Even Maradona’s stats aren’t as impressive.

  19. Dxpat says:

    @marcos. I totally disagree with you. Right now messi’s only competitor is C.Ronaldo, and messi is way ahead of him. U can’t compare his time as champion to d time of Zidane, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo when there were talents fightin 4 d Ballon award. Today its jst Messi n Ronaldo n it rlly sucks!

  20. Soccer Punch says:

    oh man.. you cant compare two people from different time/era, it’s like comparing Lebron James to Michael Jordan.. aight? so stop arguing about who’s the greatest footballer of all time. this thing will not end if you continue comparing the two.

  21. Q.Villa says:

    Just curious….. If Messi was to be a spain international and with the spanish achievments so far, will you consider as the best over Pele? Personally….. if we cast out the worldcup trophies and rate them both based on individual play, i think Messi have edge over great Pele. What ya’ll think?

  22. Brad says:

    @ Q. Villa, fair point, but that’s a “what if” thing that ain’t gonna happen. Football isn’t just about individual play, it’s about team play, too, and about working together to win trophies.

    In that case, Messi should have the advantage at club level, I don’t know. . . but at national team level, he hasn’t won a single trophy. And yet he’s being compared to Pele, who is the only person to have won 3 WC. And any nonsense about Pele’s teammates for Brazil is redundant, as Messi has the same support at Barca.

  23. Akinsehinwa Solomon Sola says:

    It is not right for Pele to ALWAYS challenge Messi. Pele must allow people to decide who is who in the FOOTBALL HISTORY, not DEFENDING himself!

  24. pure24 says:

    @ Akinsehinwa, Pele has every right to defend himself… Its his success. Who would stand back and just let others say u r no good wen u clearly enjoyed the most success. And anyway, whichever side you take, you are mostly speaking from a biased point of view. But the fact ARE the facts.

    Personally, I am yet to find out how a successful person can be better than someone who has more than three times his success! Someone please, without all this easy-league-good-teammates-wacky-defenders rubbish, answer that. Soccer is soccer… 1902 or 2012

  25. Brad says:

    Wow. That beats anything and everything I said, pure24. But you know some idiot is going to continue the bigotry.

  26. Mikhail says:

    Pele scored about 670 goals in OFFICIAL matches… messi will can still catch that… he’s been improving his goals every season and entering his prime he can easily rock 300 goals in the next 4 seasons. As for pele he won 2 world cups really… Both played with great teammates… But deciding factor skill level rose significantly in modern game football is more popular and there are a lot of professionals. Pele would be a star player but not super star player imo.

  27. Brad says:

    So I’m guessing Ronaldo (Brazil) only won 1 WC really? Mikhail, you actually used sense, unlike so many other people (THANK YOU) but you still missed one bit, and that is non-playing members of each championship-winning side were awarded WC medals too, by FIFA, just a few years ago.

  28. Wiz says:

    Pele won 3 worldcup trophees (1958, 1962, 1970) ’58 he received the silver ball, ’62 he played 2 matches n got injurd, ’70 he received the golden ball. No golden shoe. He scored around 1200 goal which includes 77 goals scored for brazil. His clubs were santos, brazil n newyork cosmos, usa.
    Messi won 2005 under 20 world cup n 2008 olympic, on both occasions he received both the golden ball n golden shoe. Messi scored around 300 goals up to now, 19 goals for the national team. Great number of assists. Messi received 3 golden ball, player of the year awords & 2 times came in 2nd with the silver ball. Club; barcelona, spain.

  29. Brad says:

    Your putting U-20 and Olympic championships- both youth tournaments- against 3 full World Championships right there. Not a fair fight, but seeing as Messi hasn’t even reached a WC semi. . .

    Also, there’s an error on Messi’s goal count for Argentina. Somewhere around 25, I think.

    Still, Pele’s still superior, particularly at national level, where it counts the most.

  30. Pure24 says:

    Just so we are clear, Messi and Pele played in different times.
    I can bet my left hand (I’m left handed) any day that everyone here has watched Messi more than Pele. And the only thing there is of Pele are YouTube videos, bits and pieces of matches played and some ESPN Classic matches displayed on TV. Maybe some DVD or VCR of the guy. Based on that you will definitely see more of Messi’s skill than Pele’s. But just becoz you don’t see it doesn’t mean its not there.
    Just in Spain, Messi is yet to have: most career league goals (he’s ranked twelve, by the way), most away goals in a season, most league matches scored in, Cristiano Ronaldo scored against every team last season – which Messi is yet to do, fastest 100 league goals (Too late am afraid – C. Ronaldo has that one)… And its pointless to go on

    PS: As a side-note, spell-check is underlining Messi and Ronaldo (in Red) to correct 4 the spelling, but (maybe I’m colour blind) nothing for Pele!!!

  31. NthaniRolex says:

    Whoa hold on a second @Pure24!! dont get ahead of yourself, Messi is unbelievable! we should also consider the champions league ‘coz well according to Sir Alex and Jose its prbbly better than the WC! Pele ddnt win those three WC alone, he was just fortunate to be in a generation full of amazing players, argentina lackzz the coach, buh they hv the ability to b better than the samba king….. Messi is better in termzz of skill, agility, and just plain magic!!!!!! So please get your factzz in order!!

  32. Oybek says:

    Pele cements he was great in the past and unilaterally projects Neymar will be great in the future. It would be fair of him if he at least admitted that Messi is unmatched today. After all, he know better and more than most people about football. While his forecast about no one beating him in the future is quite inconsiderate, he may be right in that like every other field, football has advanced too much and become too competitive for players to repeat his records. When Messi broke Cruff’s record last season, he embraced his achievement by famously admitting ” the records are set to be broken”, for which he deserves all the respect.

  33. Brad says:

    NthaniRolex, you told Pure24, (btw, Pure, I’m also left-handed) “not to get ahead” of himself. But then you got ahead of your own self.

    The European Champions League is the best competition there is in the world. . . at club level. Barcalona is the world’s best club team right now for sure, and even I think they could already be the best club team of all time.

    Here’s the catch, Nthani:

    You stated Pele didn’t win the # WC’s by himself, and that he was fortunate to be in a golden generation. That is redundant, and has been for a long time; had you done any reading, you’d have discovered a telling counter-argument that me and several others have seen that Messi has the SAME advantage with Barcalona. However, at national team level, Pele played in a time when only 16 teams could qualify for the WC. This means that only the truly bona fide competition, plus a handful of smaller teams, would play at the tournament. Not so today, 32 teams qualify, and Messi just happened to have played in 2 WCs, with only 1 goal in 8 matches to his name. If I’m correct, any time he played against those bona fides, he didn’t do as good as we expect. Messi has the misfortune of not having teammates at Argentina as he does with Barca, but surely, if he was the greatest of all time, that wouldn’t matter, right?

    While Pele is fairly rude with his comments, it must be noted that the facts can be rude in themselves!! Of course, the number of goals Pele scored (approx. 1280, always hear different accounts of what the precise tally is) and 3 World Cups will be hard to draw level with, let alone beat, even for Messi!!! Messi is the best player in the world today, but not all time.. . though he can change that, he has the chance.

  34. Pure24 says:

    Just before I say something (I’m already saying something by the way), let me remind you all – do you remember Ronaldinho?
    I do. I also remember how some people were saying that he was the greatest EVER! And that nobody will be greater than him – the same guys changed their minds three years ago!!!

    Brad
    I do not agree with you on one issue: Messi has magnificent playmates in Argentina – Its just like how Brazil, Netherlands or Germany is awesome, but all fell to Spain (technically, Spain weren’t the ones who took them all out). But you make an awesome point – wow, you are also left-handed? Sweet!
    Nthani doesn’t know what he is saying – he has never even watched Pele. Lane changes and step overs don’t make someone great. I bet you if Neymar continues to grow, people will say “HE IS THE GREATEST EVER”. Look at it from many angles, not just a single match… And those of you making promises, just don’t. WE DON’T KNOW if Messi will beat Pele – right now, he’s way behind. Way, way behind. I mean, Arsenal claim they’ll win the league EVERY SEASON!!!
    PS: I forgot – Messi doesn’t rally do step overs!

  35. James says:

    Messi is the best player to step on a pitch, ! im talking about playing the game! exclude accolades, Messi is better in every department!

  36. Brad says:

    Pure, I didn’t mean that part about Argentina as in his teammates there are pure crap, I meant that they’re not the same caliber as his teammates in Barca.

    Coincidentally, since you’re left-handed, are you also left footed like me? lol

  37. Pure24 says:

    Um… Yes actually, am left footed.
    At James, ‘every department’ is too huge for any one player… Can Messi play as goalkeeper?! Anyway, am moving to the side. Getting back to the topic, Messi is not better in the goals department. Seriously, how is Messi better at scoring goals?
    And how can someone score almost a thousand more goals and not be more skilled. Messi fans always use this excuse (about Messi scoring more goals than, say, Ronaldo), even when the goal-difference is four goals! But now it becomes a different story

  38. Dan says:

    If you all don’t know, Pele’ scored only 760 official goals, other goals came from friendlies & army games. Messi had scored 296 official goals up to now & has almost 150 assists. When you talk about world cups it is better to talk about how many times they were the best player of the world cup. Pele’ was the best player only in 1970, Messi never was.

  39. Fencer says:

    Pele is THE MOST OVERATED PLAYER EVER. He says hes scored over 1000 goals yet this can not be verified as it probably includes when he was a 4 year old playing on the streets of Rio or wherever he’s from. He has never played in Europe and only won things for crappy Brazilian teams although the World Cups are fabulous achievements. I
    He is so deluded!!! He is not even top ten in my eyes! Platini,Cryuff,Muller,Beckenbaur,Riva,Baggio,Messi,Zidane, Gascoigne,Maldini to name just some who can profess to be the best ahead of that ridiculous self absorbed idiot! All of the above have won and played in major competitions. I include Gaza because he should of been rated up there. Not forgetting of ourse Puskas,Best,Moore but the GREATEST WITHOUT DOUBT IS DIEGO MARADONA, WITHOUT QUESTION!!! Nobody can possibly argue as the facts are all there. So please Pele just F##k O## you stupid OVERATED mental old man.

  40. [nepal besishahar] the argentinian superwave{messi}is the symbol of the good legend
    like pele who praised messi that their level n quality is equal

    ……messi is the 2nd form of pele

  41. Brad says:

    Fencer, we asked for facts, not such insufferable, opinionated insults. We’ve had plenty of those.

    Maradona was a druggie, cheating buffoon, and is far more narcissistic than you suggest Pele is.

    No one has 3 WC, besides Pele. As a matter of fact, Messi has only 1 WC goal to his name, in 8 matches. Pele has 12 in 13. And that was back in the days when only the bona fide teams, plus an outsider or two, made it to the biggest tournament of all. Much tougher than Messi has it today.

  42. Bentley. Husbands says:

    Pele is the best person to have ever played the game of soccer. Ball skill, speed. Scoring ability was great. The only way to stop him was to foul him or kick him out of a game. Messi is good, also Ronoldo just do not have the same ability. pele was winning world cups from a young age.

  43. lilbad97 says:

    klisen ur saying u cant compare time but really of the top of ur head name good defenders or goal keepers in peles time the messi`s`time they are different team is most important messi has it set with barca but hes got it set with argentina too they are set up nice compare to brazil back then no they arent close but u guys are talking bout stats how do u u have all of pele`s stats against messi`s stats if u havent noticed messi is only 25 and to add up the games hes played now every season and take the same seasone as pele messi is beter u guys say internatonal games are the most important pele was not alone peles never got the golden
    ball to say he was the best in his team brazil is just wrong cause not one year has he got more goals then his teamates therefore this discussion hes beter than hime can not be disscussed until messi retires because u cant compare a legend to a legend in the making im argentinian and yeah i think pele was great but just like messi they both need good teamates beside them

  44. Guddy says:

    @fence. Even if u include and double all d goals messi scored wen he was 1yr old, and the ones he scored in his dreams, it wuldn’t equal that of pele’s. Messi is not overated, bt wil definitely be only wen compared wit pele. Talkn abt futbal den n now, even if u ar given a ball with oponents of children at d ages of 8yrs, r u sure u culd score dat much like pele. Smtimez I wonda if dat record culd eva b broken, hw did he manage 2score dose?

  45. Pure24 says:

    At Dan, so many tally’s… wikipedia says 541 League goals, and 1281 in toal. Way ahead of Messi – and he’s player of the century. I don’t need to put any onpinions on that!
    At Lilbad97, if you check what Pele said: “When Messi has scored 1,283 goals and won three World Cups, then we will talk.” We don’t know what the future holds… Messi may beat his record, he may not. But instead of guessing, we are talking about the present. And right now, Messi is way, way, WAY behind Pele

  46. michael greene says:

    It is bad enough for the rest of us to be discussing who was the best player ever. But when one of our candidates comes in public claiming that title, it is ridiculous. I always was a fan of Pele and watched him play many times both for Brazil and for his club Santos. But every time he opens his mouth he talks rubbish. Romario says that Pele while he keeps his mouth shut is like a beautiful orchestra !!!

  47. Brad says:

    Thing is, Michael, he has far more stats in his favor , even when he was Messi’s age, than Messi does.

    That right there is where it’s at. The truth can sound ugly, and arrogant, but what Pele said. . . is true.

  48. cloud says:

    Who has won the World Cup when he was barely 18 years old and won it by scoring two goals in the finals ??? – PELE.

    That achievement alone, on one has yet to emulate. Not Zidane, nor R9.

    Messi ?? Only with Barca. And that’s it.

  49. Anthony says:

    Messi is a great player, And so is pele, pele is the better player because of his international ability, like cristiano Ronaldo is also better than messi because he also dominates at international level. Messi will be the best when he wins golden boot at world cup, Argentina win the world cup and messi dominates every game.

  50. cloud says:

    .. that is why many people are not so sold out with Messi becoz of his below par performance with Argentina.

    .. that’s why Messi won’t leave Barca coz he knows that he can’t survive without the help of Iniesta and Xavi.

    .. an equation would be very simple to construct with this arguement::

    pele = medals for club + medalsss for country

    messi = medals for BARCA ONLY + zero for country.

    .. having said that, why are people still defending messi ??

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