Pele Says Lionel Messi Is the Modern Star He'd Most Like to Play Alongside

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistNovember 14, 2019

BARCELONA, SPAIN - NOVEMBER 09: Lionel Messi of FC Barcelona runs with the ball during the Liga match between FC Barcelona  and RC Celta de Vigo at Camp Nou on November 09, 2019 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Brazil legend Pele has described Barcelona's Lionel Messi as "the most complete player" in the modern game. 

Per Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t Chris Burton of Goal), when quizzed on which current star he would most like to play alongside, the three-time FIFA World Cup winner said:

"I think Leo Messi. He is a skilled player, gives assists, passes, scores, dribbles well. If we were in a team together, the opponents would have to worry about two players, not just one. Today Messi is the most complete player."

Just under a year ago, Pele came out with the extraordinary accusation that Messi "only has one skill" despite the reams of evidence to the contrary:

It seems the 79-year-old has changed his opinion on the five-time Ballon d'Or winner in the last year.

But Pele is of the view that there were more superstars in the past than there are now:

"Once you found two or three in every country with a great football culture. Eusebio, Simoes, [Johan] Cruyff, [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Diego] Maradona, Garrincha, Didi. How many did I say? There were so many.

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"Today we have two or three in total. Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, I would say Neymar, who in Brazil has not yet managed to become a great figure."

Messi, 32, had a delayed start to 2019-20 due to a foot injury that kept him out of Barca's first four La Liga games of the season.

However, having returned to fitness, he now has eight goals in seven Spanish top flight appearances.

Only Karim Benzema has more with nine goals, and the Real Madrid striker has made 11 La Liga appearances this term.

In the Blaugrana's final game before the international break, Messi netted his first hat-trick of the campaign to propel Barca to a 3-1 victory over Celta Vigo:

As a result, the defending champions remained top of the table on goal difference ahead of Real:

Barca are back in action on November 23 when they visit Leganes, who are without a win in their last three matches. 

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