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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. Ajn says:

    Stop speaking nonsense

  2. joko says:

    hellooooo …..where have you been Mr “P”ele…?!…your’e statement toooooo arrogant,i dont like u because your mouth…in the past time at youre era its defferen ,i think for this time is more player got more technic,skill than youre era Mr “P”ele…so i think if you play at this moment,…..youre nothing

  3. Brad says:

    Ajn, I agree with your comment. . .. when it comes to you, joko, and other messi fans, that is.

  4. Thierry says:

    He is arrogant coz he got the record and a legend…same like Bolt…break it and they will be humble…simple as that…

  5. Brad says:

    you think he’s arrogant? listen to yourself and the other messi fans. and that’s without reason, too.

  6. Vicran says:

    I suspected that these messi fans won’t let this matter lie.The worst is that their written English is as poor as their logic.What a shame.

  7. Vitalis marekera says:

    Agree to pele tell them…. Not just conservative

  8. Doni says:

    He is too arrogant. He can win World Cup 3 times because of his awesome teammates. And for the 1962 WC, he only played 1 match. How can he claim he won 3 WC? As for his goals. He scored them mostly against Brazil clubs that didn’t care about defense. If he compares his goals to Messi’s, I think it’s irrelevant.

  9. Gloria says:

    Pele is better than messi. Messi is better than pele. He won 3 worldcups. He won 3 ballon d’ors. So freaking what? Stop it already. Pele was the best off his time. Maradona was best of his time. Now we are blessed to be in the era of messi. It shows how great messi is for someone like pele to compare himself to messi, saying he has an edge over him(wow). The only thing is for everyone to be patient and do what pep advised. “Dont talk about messi just watch him play”. When he retires from soccer then we will have all the stats and facts to clearly say who is the best of all time. On the part of objectivity. I have a no of favourite players like maradona, zidane, R9, pirlo, iniesta and xavi. But messi is a magician on the field. Its no contest. He is my best.

  10. Brad says:

    Doni, don’t be stupid. Pele got injured in 1962. While you got one fact right, which is a surprise, you didn’t bother to realize that he got hurt and was unable to play for the rest of the tournament. Look at the bigger picture. For instance, a few years ago FIFA awarded all players who were on the squad of their country when they won the World Cup a medal. So now the official, and true, statistics show that Pele is the one and only player to have helped his nation win the World Cup 3 times.

    It’s ridiculous to shrug off the goal stats that Pele has, too. Regardless of the league, it is no mean feat to score over 1,000 goals in a professional career. Considering the fact that the Spanish La Liga isn’t particularly known for its defense, with the exception of Barcalona and Real Madrid (who also combine that with the one-two combination of team chemistry and pure world class talents), your attack on Pele’s stats is nullified instantly. And considering that attack isn’t even new, it’s truly a wonder that you even bothered to continue harping along that line, especially if you’ve seen how it’s been so lazily cast aside.

    Gloria, I like how you put that. The problem is, many people seem to think that Messi is the undisputed best footballer of all time. He hasn’t even finished his career though. He hasn’t even helped Argentina reach the semis of a World Cup, let alone win one. As great as Messi is at club level, he needs to improve on the big stage for his country, as that just happens to be where Pele made his claim to fame.

    Both players have/had fantastic teammates with them on one team: Pele at Brazil, Messi at Barca. The difference is that Pele made a huge mark at both club and international play, without truly great teammates like Garrincha and Jairzinho, whilst Messi has only made his own at club level. This is partly thanks to the fact that he doesn’t have help from Xavi and Iniesta. Even for Barca, if you take one or both of those two playmakers, Messi experiences some drop in form, I’ve noticed.

  11. Gus says:

    The 1283 goals scored figure is only half true. Pele netted 707 goals with Santos and the Cosmos in 763 games. Now to say that as a scoring record that’s not amazing would be lunacy but to score 1283 goals in a 21 year career at the rate he scored his 707 goals would mean that he played approximately 66 competitive games a season on a club level for 21 years straight. Not possible. As far as representing his country statistically Pele is superior although he was supported by a better team. Which can also be said of Messi with Barcelona. Point is, the goalscoring stats for Pele are generally inflated and until Messi finishes his career we won’t be able to know who was statistically better. We never really can decide who was the better of the two because they played in different eras.

  12. Vicran says:

    Gus is a messi fan that didn’t sound as one.He also wrote good english.But the logic is strange.Are you saying that verifiable,official documented records for pele are false and messi’s are true?You then turned and said the objective thing-lets allow messi to finish.Then he might stand a chance to catch or overtake him.Lets rest the case for now and let him finish!Would you?I doubt if the messi fanatics would.

  13. ilyas says:

    Pele and Messi are two different world class players that made their marks (messi is still making) in two different eras. Let’s just appreciate their contributions and talents and forget who is better of the two. To me, King Pele, considering his status and age needn’t have to raise the dust in the first place…what do you think?

  14. Brad says:

    Vicran, it is a tad unusual. However, in competitive matches, the stats Gus brought out are indeed true. What it is is that, some time back, I believe before Maradona’s time and certainly Messi’s, FIFA put the 1,283 goals down as official stats. So, really, we’ve got to go with that.

    Gus, very well said. And Ilyas, I agree that we have to let this rest, but the thing is, there are Messi fans who won’t let the topic rest. It does seem to be the right thing to do to repudiate them. No matter how many times.

  15. Niranj says:

    Messi got all the things that Pele got in his carrer now itself , and messi have a long time still in front of him . Which means messi can become powerfull like a double pele ..

  16. King Pele should not always involve himself in Messi matter.For now,it is an insult to compare Messi to Pele,who have won three world Cup with Brazil.Messi is great in Spain though not a Spainiard,while Pele is King.

  17. Brad says:

    Cool story, Niranj, needs more dragons and stuff. . .

    Niranj, last time I checked, Messi has yet to help Argentina win a single World Cup. Meanwhile, Pele helped Brazil win 3.

    Do your homework.

  18. kaleelcbk says:

    pele 10 times better than messi nevr judge king of football pele’

  19. kaleelcbk says:

    messi is only barca star not another legendary football star great footballers fuck messi u are better than neymar then compare Legendary football kings ok…..

  20. route 8 saint says:

    pele is a joke, he ruined his rep years ago. everytime he speaks he should be stripped of one title. hes loco bro

  21. route 8 saint says:

    pele is the biggest joke.

  22. benji says:


  23. KingEllite says:

    You see pele he kills he could have went to any big club out of brazil but the Brazilian government regarded him as a NATIONAL TREASURE and also the fact meaning he wasn’t allowed to leave brazil and you Route 8 saint you talk too much

  24. Al'amin says:

    ha ha ha for thos that are so strict on pele’s beterness why did he say they are on the same level, i am afraid pele is jealous of this generation’s football legend, why ddnt messi respond to this allegation? becouse he has only determinations, is it worldcup the finest glory in football? what about continental champions league lyk uefa champions league and coppa libertodores, how many does pele have?

  25. THE TRUTH says:

    I agree with Brad.

  26. pure24 says:

    Just out of interest: What does a player’s jealousy, insecurity and ego have to do with his achievements? I think Pele is useless, and wants to be worshiped.
    BUT. There is nothing any of you can say that will take away his achievements… I seemed to notice that many of u are better at calculating professional career goals than the associations themselves! Sure, Messi is most definitely winning Ballon d’Or again, but never see today’s talent and make it all time great. Brad’s point holds true – Messi’s career is not done yet!!!
    Lastly, ur arguments are so futile bcoz u use subjective reasons; use facts that will never differ from person to person. I mean, in my opinion, if Messi was in the Premier League where teams play every three days and have to face fatigue, excessive media pressure, really strict Association rules and such-like, he wouldn’t be ANYWHERE near where he is!
    The Brazilian league defense is useless? Let’s look at the La Liga one then, where Barca scored 5+ goals per game… The SAME Barca has not beaten ANY English team by more than two goals in almost a decade!!!
    You see, ur arguments are futile. Why do countries spend Billions ust bidding for a World Cup? Why do they spend trillions preparing. Why are national and international dignitaries involved? Why is it the most watched tournament in the world? Am sure its bcoz its not really important!

  27. Bretty says:

    George Best was better than both of them and retired at 27. Even the great Pele said that.

  28. It’s most stupid to say that Pele is “useless” @pure 24! What makes him “useless”? To preface his submission, Pele acknowledged he’s a fan of Messi. But highlighted the disparity between them, and their similarity. His statement doesn’t sound arrogant or derogatory toward Messi. But as he rightly pointed out, until Messi wins three WCs, and scores 1,283 goals, he’s no where near the great Pele. To help you guys see how that maight be a real task, Messi is now almost 26 years. Pele retired from active footballing at age 34; so the next 8years will see Messi aging 34. Therefore, if in the next 8years, Messi is able to make his goal tally to 1,283, then, there could be real talk about between him and Pele, who’s the greatest of all time. I personally see it as almost impossible for Messi to score 800 goals in the next 8years! You guys commenting here should mind your language and tame your tongues a bit. The man never said anything he isn’t entitled. He got the audacity to his claims, and you shouldn’t rain abuses on him for that. Candidly speaking, I don’t think that Messi would be able to hold his ground on the style of play during Pele’s days, with all those hard tackles without referee protections, nor fair play rules. Consider the eras, and the rules of the game in these eras! being objective will help us here.

  29. pure24 says:

    My bad man @BencoAnyiam… Didn’t mean useless skill-wise, or useless in a literal sense. Also didn’t mean to undermine Pele’s statement in any way; it just comes across as insecure, not that he is. Yeah, tongues need to be tamed and that was a loose one right there.

    Personally, I don’t even know why we are on this subject. Congrats to Messi for yet another Ballon d’Or! And u know what, there’s nobody really shining right now and if the trend continues, we might be looking at a FIFTH consecutive award. But 800 goals?!!! That’s too tall an order. It means that Messi would have to bag 100 goals every season for eight years! Three World Cup trophies? Messi will be lucky if he even gets to play all of the next three World Cup finals. Pitting Ballon d’Or as a reason is bit short-sighted bcoz the award itself is subjective. Its not an ultimate decider on who is the best player!

    What did Messi do that guaranteed him another Ballon d’Or ahead of Ronaldo? Messi supporters will use records to defend him. And yet somehow, records don’t matter when comparing to Pele!!! Come on guys, this shouldn’t even be an issue… Pele beats Messi any day. Come eight years from now and we will talk

  30. Brad says:

    Okay, here’s the deal. They say the Brazilian Serie A is crap, eh? Well, look where all the good players go: Europe. England. Italy. Germany. France. somewhere else, too, hold on. . . oh, yeah, SPAIN. That’s today. These Messi fans, short memory, very short. They don’t realize, that, in the days of Pele, the Brazilians stayed home. Those that didn’t, went to Europe, and almost completely flopped due to differences in climate, language, football style, and culture. Europe had closer ties between each other, but Brazil still produced the best players, who were often spread out among the teams. That means that Pele was the standout amongst the Sao Paulo players (he did have some teammates in the same league as Carlos Alberto), and to this day has actually been forever linked with many of that club’s honors.

    At Brazil, it was different. He was the standout still, but this time it was amongst a superstar heavy squad, not a whole lot of no-names. This is similar to how Messi is today at Barca. difference is, Messi performs only at club level (though he had fantastic performances for Argentina this just past calender year, but don’t get too cocky). Meanwhile, Pele performed for both club and country, all through his career.

    @BencoAnyiam, I like that bit you put about Messi not being able to stand up to the hits that defenders dished out back then, especially to the best players on the park. And naturally, our opposition would claim that, if Pele played today, he wouldn’t be able to handle the sophisticated defenders of today. Not true. It’s because of players like Pele, George Best, Eusebio, Cruyff, Garrincha, Maradona, Zidane, and many others that defenders are so sophisticated now. I guarantee you, in later years, they will be more so because of Messi, but if it weren’t for Pele (or any others mentioned above), they wouldn’t be as good as they are today.

  31. pure24 says:

    Thats a true one Brad…
    I noticed that particularly Barca fans seem to have a short-term memory loss. Or maybe they are too young to have that long a memory. Not to belittle Barca in any way, but FIVE YEARS of amazing soccer does not make you the greatest team of ALL TIME. Just the same as club performances ONLY do not make you the greatest player of all time. We are talking all-time; goals, medals, awards (not just Ballon d’Or, mind)… Barca has the blessing of having a collection of some of the best players in the world right now – almost totally consisting of Spanish players, who on international level are winning everything they are participating in. Its not surprising that they would make an already amazing player even more awesome (Messi, I mean). But if this record-breaking, award-winning prodigy can prove that its not about the teammates (that is, win a World Cup, or make some sense of his international career), then who am I to say he’s anything but better than Pele? If not… The facts speak for themselves

  32. oybek says:

    Mr Pele,

    I don’t know what makes you say that you are unmatched but if you really want this current generation of football fans to get your message – your being all time great- your numbers 1283 goals and 3 would cups don’t do much of the help. Why not raise/spend some cash to advertise some of your performance on mass media to remind the youth of your all-time superiority?

    Honestly, I don’t know much about Pele. Only recently did I find out that Pele recorded a tally of max 75 goals a year. If that’s the case, how is it possible that he has 1283 goals? How long did his career last?

  33. barca boy says:

    barca beat arsenal 4-1 ,, and beat man.utd 3-1. and yet you say that barca has not scored any English team more than two goals… Pele is GREAT, Messi is GREAT and both of them can be used in the same sentence by anyone if Pele himself can use the two names.. Don’t be sad for sincere success of two GREAT men… have a nice day

  34. Jayanta Ray says:

    @ of All…….Just not compare like a stupid between Pele& Messi. Messi is world class in Club Football but Pele is world class in both club& international football.

  35. Brad says:

    Oybek, Pele’s career started when he was 15, not long before he set the world on fire at Sweden 58. He didn’t end his career completely until somewhere around 1977. Plenty of time to get an incredible tally. Messi’s already well on his way to doing the same for his entire career.

    And I’m not sure if Pele needs to raise money to advertise himself. There’s Youtube, and plenty of books that have facts about Pele. The advertising is being done for him. It’s just that so much of the fans today are so absorbed in what’s going on now, they don’t bother to learn the history of the game, which is probably something they should do.

  36. Brad says:

    A thought that just occurred to me.

    These days, there are so many different competitions at club level to play in, particularly in Europe. There’s the domestic league, one or two domestic cups, a one-off domestic super-cup game, Champions League, Europa, the one-off European Super Cup game, and the Club World Cup.

    It’s very similar in South America, though Brazil’s domestic league is very confusing given that it’s based on who’s in what region, then the national tournament, and only after winning that can you go to Copa Libertadores.

    Back in Pele’s day, it was so different. Back then, everyone cared about just the league, and the World Cup. The Champions Leagues of the separate world regions were still in their infancy (as was UEFA itself, and therefore the Euros). So was the CWC. Not only were they young, not everyone deemed them as important as they do today, unless you were Real Madrid.

    It’s because of all the competitions at club level that players have even more time to get used to teammates. And it’s teams like Barca, who already have so much chemistry to begin with by growing up with each other, who end up building even more chemistry by playing so many games with each other. Not only that, most of the Barca starters are Spain starters, so more chem goes in. I think that’s got something to do with Messi not doing as good for Argentina.

  37. pure24 says:

    I said winning by more than two goals, nt scoring mo than two goals!!! Except Arsenal…

  38. d11 says:

    pele you jealous you stil want 2 b the best. If messi was from brazil then you would say he is the best

  39. Vicran says:

    Who is this D11?Lets see where these Messi sentiments would lead and when it will stop.The voters can keep giving Messi the ballon d’or,it will never make him the greatest because the facts will continue to speak.The blame should go to Pele who condescended so much as to make such a comparison.I wish he reads these so that he could see the insults Messi fanatics have continued to give him.I sympathise with neutral and objective readers who sense of judgement are continually being assaulted.

  40. barkafan says:


  41. barkafan says:


  42. shahwali says:

    messi is the best still compared all other player

  43. shahosian says:

    ronaldo is better then messi

  44. pure24 says:

    Okay, whatever man… This is not a Barca argument!
    This is Pele Vs. Messi; perhaps am mistaken, so all the guys in favor of Messi – why do u think Messi is better than Pele? What exactly has Messi done that makes him way above Pele.
    No offense intended, but every reason u guys have given so far is just subjective… There’s always another way of looking at it. U argue the goal tally’s but u forget that goals that Messi scored in friendly matches were ALSO counted wen adding the goals he scored in a calender year. Whats the official record for Pele’s career goals? and where are we getting these new values?!!!

    Am actually open to being convinced. But unless there’s some concrete reasons, there’s no way – absolutely no way – that Messi beats Pele. I wont even defend Pele… The records speak for themselves

  45. Brad says:

    Barkafan, your name says it all. another noisy know nothing.

    Pele has an official record of 1280+ goals in 1360+ matches. So there’s your archive, now, please, shut it.

    There’s a Bible verse that fits this, doesn’t matter if you’re of Christian faith or not, just read. Sadly, I don’t remember which verse precisely, or even word for word, so don’t quote. But here’s the gist.

    “A fool continuously rambles on, there is no quiet.” (I know I got the “there is no quiet” part right). And it’s the job of the well-informed to repudiate them.

    Oh, gee, look at how many people the verse applies to who’ve commented on this article!

  46. Tallist says:

    My 2 cents is simply that best players are judged on the best stages.

    Football – World Cup

    Atlethics – Olympics

    Basketballers – NBA

    Etc, Etc, Etc

    Messi is very good but until he can perform consistently in World Cups (plural) then he’s can’t be spoken of as the best ever.

    In my opinion he hasn’t even yet reached the point of being discussed as the best to come from Argentina!

  47. tanyaradzwa tatira says:

    I am lionel’s biggest fan.He is better than pele and Pele was better than meeeeesi but the fact remains that we can’t the two since they played in years and soccer standards were diff as compared to that of current days

  48. Brad says:

    Tallist called it right.

    Tanyaradzwa, you could learn something from that.

  49. pure24 says:

    Actually, in a way – we can compare Lionel Messi and Pele. Who we CAN’T compare is Rooney Vs. Sebastian Vettel, Messi Vs. Michael Jordan or Ronaldinho Vs. Usain Bolt!!!

    Now I am just blabbing. But seriously, the fact that two people are playing or used to play the same sport means they can be compared. They are of different lifetimes, and both of them were/are amazing! Jealousy and personal opinion have nothing to do with their skills… That is why also, in many more ways, they are simply incomparable.
    Now Messi Vs. Pele then. Personally, I say Pele – U say 1283 goals is not official, but 600/700/800 something goals. EVEN THEN, they are still WAY above Messi’s tally. U say Messi has got better dribbles… Rubbish! Even Ibrahimovich and CR7 have better raw skill and don’t even get me started on Ronaldinho! Not to belittle Messi in any way, but Messi simply has better reaction time, an amazing instinct and can convert his already wonderful talent onto the field better than anybody at this point in time.
    But then again, someone else will say Messi wins the battle… So what do we use to get an indisputable answer???

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