Pele says Maradona better than Messi - USA

Pele blasts Messi, calls Barcelona star

Brazilian legend Pele has certainly caused a bit of a stir in the footballing world with his latest comments on Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

"Messi's a great player, but he's not a leader", Maradona said to La Ultima Palabra Mexico on Fox Sports.

Messi's greatest-of-all-time credentials took another hit this summer after the 31-year-old failed to light up the World Cup finals, with his waning standing in the game highlighted by his fifth-place ranking in the voting for this year's Ballon d'Or, which was awarded to Croatian Luka Modric on Monday.

How can you compare a guy who dribbles well, beats beats left and right, and the other plays only feet, has an accurate shot, but doesn't play head?

He continued: "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" he said. "He had bad luck because the team didn't win the World Cup and he was branded back home", Pele said. "They were all excellent players". Fellow Argentine Maradona is considered to be one of the best ever, while iconic figures from Germany and the Netherlands are also held in the highest regard.

Pele may not be Messi's biggest fan, but there is no questioning his achievements since bursting onto the scene at Barca.

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"It's hard to defend Neymar for all the things he does beyond playing football". Much better. (Franz) Beckenbauer, (Johan) Cruyff are also better.

"As far as I'm concerned, Maradona was one of the best players ever", he said. I talked with him, I told him that in soccer, he's got it.

"I told him he had football to spare, I've been to Europe twice with him recently, we have discussed it and I explained it to him".

However, the Selecao star has previously declared his belief that compatriot Neymar is a better player than both Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, and he duly affirmed: "If you look around the world, the ones who stand out are Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar".

"You mention several names, but from the last 10 or 15 years, I think Messi's been the most consistent player, without doubt".

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