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Pele: Messi not as good as Neymar

April 11, 2012
By ESPN staff

Brazil legend Pele has raised eyebrows by claiming Lionel Messi is not as good as Neymar.

Neymar and Messi
GettyImagesNeymar and Lionel Messi could prove a lethal force if combined in Barcelona's attack

Messi won the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2009 and scooped the inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or in 2010 and 2011.

He has thrust his form yet higher this season and took his goals tally for the campaign to 61 in Barcelona's win over Getafe on Tuesday night.

The Argentina superstar has won a raft of club honours with Barca but has yet to deliver on the international stage. This has not halted comparisons between Messi and two of the game's greats: Pele and Diego Maradona.

Pele, though, is of the opinion that not only is Messi below the level of himself and Maradona, he is also convinced Messi has to raise his game in order to be as good as 20-year-old Santos forward Neymar.

"Now everyone is talking about Messi; he is a star. But [to be the best ever] he must first become better than Neymar," Pele said. "At the moment Messi is just more experienced."