What's the story?
Former Barcelona star and Match of the Day host Gary Lineker has ridiculed Pele's claim that Lionel Messi 'only has one skill' on Twitter, by suggesting that these kinds of comparisons are utter nonsense.
The former England international defended Messi after he was subjected to harsh criticism by Brazil icon Pele in an interview this week, in which the legendary striker claimed that the Argentinean is not as good a player as he was during his career.
Pele took several jibes at the 5-time Ballon d'Or winner, claiming that the Barcelona superstar couldn't head the ball well, only has one strong leg and also made a bold statement that 1986 World Cup winner Maradona was a much better player than he is.
Lineker, who is a long-time admirer of Messi, couldn't just sit back and came out in defense of the two-time treble winner with La Blaugrana, after Pele unleashed a series of verbal attacks that downplayed the player's abilities and achievements by claiming that 'one-skill' Messi is not comparable to a complete player like Pele.
In case you didn't know...
Lineker wore the famous Blue and Red jersey for three seasons at the Camp Nou between 1986 and 1989. He was LaLiga's top British goalscorer until Gareth Bale surpassed him in March 2016.
The 1986 World Cup Golden Boot winner is an avid supporter of the Barcelona #10 and has never been shy to show his admiration for arguably the best footballer of all time on Twitter and had even claimed that 'Messi is not human' earlier this year.
The Heart of the matter...
Responding to the words of the FIFA Player of the Century on his official twitter handle, Lineker expressed his displeasure over the scathing comments directed towards Messi, by calling Pele's judgement of Messi as utter nonsense.
The BT Sport and Match of the Day host hit back at Pele and wrote this:
"If this is how you judge players then the same would apply to Maradona. Utter nonsense."
Messi finished fifth in this year's Ballon d'Or rankings last week, three spots behind Cristiano Ronaldo and on account of that his status as one of the world's best player was a hot topic for debate recently.
Barcelona head into the Derbi Barceloní this weekend in their LaLiga fixture against seventh-placed Espanyol.
Next week they'll face Tottenham Hotspur in their Champions League fixture, but as they've already secured the top spot in their group, we can expect Valverde to experiment with the squad and give Messi some rest.