Pele recently declared that Messi is below the standards of Neymar of Santos FC. The Brazilian astro continued to comment by saying that Messi is below himself and Diego Maradona.
What can be said about these comments by Pele? The time has come to put everything in a proper perspective, taking into account the recent achievements of all the parties involved.
Messi is the winner of the 2009 FIFA World Player of the Year award. He is also the recipient of the 2010 and 2011 FIFA Ballon d'Or award.
He was instrumental in scoring five goals in the UEFA Champions League match between FC Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen. This is a feat that is unprecedented in the history of the UCL.
Messi has been instrumental in the victories of Barca during its matches in La Liga BBVA. The Barca astro of the 21st century superseded the two astros of the 20th century with his form of play.
Neymar is a success story in Brazil who is part of the never-ending transfer saga between Santos FC, Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Neymar was once quoted by ESPN (h/t to Goal) that he hopes to reach the level of Messi.
It is not certain whether Pele read the article, but the accomplishments of Neymar are undoubtedly impressive as well.
Neymar is able to function within a wide area of the football field. In the 2012 Futebol Brasileiro League, he gathered 10 goals, three assists and 34 shots in 11 matches.
Santos FC is currently in third place behind Corinthians and Sao Paulo in the Brasileirão. Neymar has had issues with indiscipline, causing some concern from onlookers, but that all appears to be behind the young phenom.
Pele will always have my respect and admiration, but he should stop making comparisons. After reviewing the escapades of Messi and Neymar, there is no comparison.
It may be easy for Pele to say that Messi is below him and Maradona. The reality is that Pele is looking at Messi and other players from his perspective, which dates from the 20th century.
Messi and Neymar are players of the 21st century. Messi and Neymar each have their own styles of play, which need no comparison.
Again, it is my hope that Pele would quit making these needless comments and comparison.