Former Brazil ace Pele has reopened the debate over who the world’s best player is, again lauding Santos starlet Neymar as the globe’s finest ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and former Argentina player and coach Diego Maradona.
The 1958 World Cup winner has an uneasy relationship with Maradona, with the pair often engaging in discussions over who is the world’s current and best-ever footballers.
“For me, Maradona was a great player, but only really used his left leg. Messi resembles him in that sense,” the former Santos and New York Cosmos forward opined at a book unveiling in Sao Paolo.
“Neymar has the potential to overcome both by being more complete.”
Pele scored an astonishing 1,281 goals during his career, which spanned from 1956 to 1977. Neymar has so far racked up 133, and his admirer admits it will be hard for him to equal or better his tally.
“It is hard to say yes or no, but it will be difficult,” the 71-year old chuckled.
“Neymar is an exceptional player, but at times he has showed he is not mature enough for some responsibilities. He has ability.”
Neymar recently returned to his club following Brazil’s unsuccessful Olympic campaign, which saw it miss out on a gold medal following a 2-1 final loss against Mexico. The forward was often the subject of cheers at the event, and Pele believes this would have not happened in his time as a player.
“Today the players send a kiss to the camera and it appears worldwide. In my day, we had to play in every country to be known. It’s only because I didn’t play on the moon that I wasn’t famous there,” the Brazilian joked.