Pele v Messi debate

Pele: Messi must score as many as me

June 23, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Brazil legend Pele maintains that Barcelona star Lionel Messi needs to overhaul his goalscoring record if he is to be considered the best player ever.

Lionel Messi
GettyImagesLionel Messi celebrates his strike in the Champions League final.

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Pele bagged 1283 goals in his career for Santos, New York and Brazil, while the 23-year-old Messi's total currently stands at 180.

And speaking after Santos' Copa Libertadores win on Wednesday night, Pele responded to suggestions that the Argentine had already surpassed his achievements: "Messi better than Pele? To get there he needs to score more than 1283 goals," he said.

The former Santos star also spoke about currently Brazilian starlet Neymar, who is the subject of a transfer tug-of-war between Real Madrid and Chelsea, taking the opportunity to have another sly dig at Messi's achievements.

"Neymar has great talent. I hope Neymar doesn't end up like Messi, who plays so well for his club but does nothing for his country [Argentina]," he added.