SAO PAULO – Pele says Lionel Messi isn't the best player in the world today — much less of all time.
Pele said Wednesday that young Brazilian striker Neymar is better than the Argentina forward, and reiterated that he doesn't think Messi belongs in the conversation about who is the best player ever.
That debate has long centered around Pele and Diego Maradona, but many have started including Messi after a series of outstanding performances with Barcelona.
Pele, however, said at an event celebrating the centennial of Neymar's club Santos that "there's always this Maradona comparison, saying that he's better than Pele. Now some are saying that Messi is better than Pele. Well, he has to be better than Neymar first, which he isn't yet. He has more experience."
The 20-year-old Neymar is seen as Brazil's greatest player at the moment.