Diego Maradona: The Gap Between Messi and Neymar the Same as Between Me and Pele

Mark Patterson@@MarkPattersonBRUK Staff WriterJune 11, 2014

Argentina legend Diego Maradona has compared the old rivalry between himself and Brazilian great Pele to the one between Lionel Messi and Neymar today, on the eve of the 2014 World Cup.

Both Barcelona players are expected to be key figures in the tournament—and both their teams are amongst the favourites for the tournament.

But in a straight comparison between the two, Maradona, quoted in AS, said there was a considerable gap in class.

Asked, "Who is Neymar for you?," Maradona replies:

Neymar today is Pele. In Brazil he is built up, everyone looks to him—you look forward and he is the big figure that Brazilian football has. After that, you have to say that the strength of Brazil is the middle of the field behind him.

Thereafter, it is put to him that Neymar is on a level lower than Messi:

Of course, enough with the stupidity. The distance between Messi and Neymar is the same as the one between Maradona and Pele.

Maradona expanded on Neymar in an exclusive World Cup column for the Times of India, admiring his talent but wary of his ability to settle the tournament:

Neymar is an exciting youngster with exceptional talent. What he did for Brazil in the Confederations Cup was extraordinary. But he is too young to light up a World Cup on his own.

There's nothing like a discussion on legends and would-be legends on the eve of a World Cup to get the blood racing for the tournament.

And there's very little time to wait before we establish whether Maradona's assessment of Neymar and Messi is an accurate one.

Related

    Peak Ronaldo: 'The CR7 Champions League'

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Peak Ronaldo: 'The CR7 Champions League'

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    'It's Been Very Nice Playing for Madrid' — Ronaldo Hints at Exit 😱

    World Football logo
    World Football

    'It's Been Very Nice Playing for Madrid' — Ronaldo Hints at Exit 😱

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report

    Bale Secures the Three-Peat. Get the Shirt ➡️

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Bale Secures the Three-Peat. Get the Shirt ➡️

    Bleacherreportshop
    via Bleacherreportshop

    Liverpool's Karius Sorry for Awful Errors

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Liverpool's Karius Sorry for Awful Errors

    Callum Davis
    via The Telegraph