What's the story?
In an exclusive interview with Brazilian news daily Folha de S.Paulo, Pele has revealed that he doesn't believe Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is the best footballer in the world given that he only has one skill.
In the interview, he also talked about his health and told Folha that he had three surgeries over the last few years. While he is fine now, he also conceded that he is not feeling a 100%.
He also claimed that the best Argentinean footballer of all time has to be Maradona and said that he was a much better player than the 5-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi.
In case you didn't know...
Brazilian legend, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pele won the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups with Brazil and is the leading scorer in his national team's history with 77 goals.
In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and won the FIFA Player of the Century award with Diego Maradona sharing the prize with him.
Pele had praised Messi on multiple occasions before, claiming that the left-footed footballing wizard is a better player than Ronaldo and had even called him 'the prince of football' at one point of time, so this recent criticism coming from the 78-year-old icon is surprising.
The heart of the matter...
During the interview, he was asked whether he agreed with opinions of modern-day legends Xavi and Iniesta, who claim Messi is the best player in the world, to which he replied with a brutal remark, pointing out that the superstar only possesses a single skill and can't score headers.
He also added that he cannot be compared with all-round players like himself, who could score using both feet as well as his head.
“How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn’t head the ball well?”
“How can you compare? To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers.”
Pelé took another dig at Messi, claiming that Maradona was a much better player. He added
“You will ask me was [Maradona] better than Messi? Yes, by a lot. Much better.”
Messi has not started for Argentina since they were knocked out of the World Cup in the Round of 16 by eventual champions France.
Reports suggest that he might return to the national team in time for the Copa America next year which will be hosted by Brazil.Published 06 Dec 2018, 14:21 IST