Football king Pele: Messi the best in last 10 years, no intention to head FIFA

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - JUNE 15:  Lionel Messi of Argentina celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group F match between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Maracana on June 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Lionel Messi of Argentina

Football king Pele on Monday rated Argentina’s talismanic forward Lionel Messi as the best footballer of the last ten years and declared he has no intention of heading FIFA.

However, the Brazilian legend refused to compare Messi with the former greats saying it was difficult to draw comparison between “past players and those playing at the moment”.

“But, of course, in the last ten years, Messi was the best player,” Pele said at a media conference here.

He also said Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi were two different kind of players.

“Lot of people compare Messi with Ronaldo. But they are two different kind of players. Roanldo is a more scorer (sort of), player, … more centre forward. Messi plays more deeper. But both are fantastic.”

Pele at Vila Belmiro Stadium in Santos, SP, Brazil, on Friday, April 25, 2014.

Speaking about Neymar, who has been Brazil’s poster boy for the last few years, Pele said: “I hope Neymar wins a trophy for Brazil, and he hails from Santos, the club I used to play for. My son Edinho was the one who trained him, so I feel proud and happy. He has a good future.”

“Neymar, he could be one of the best players now, at the moment, no doubt,” he said.

However, when a journalist asked whether the crisis in the FIFA with its president Sepp Blatter under suspension saddened him, the organisers of the triple World Cup winner’s trip to India said he would not take any questions on the game’s apex body.

But Pele said he had no intention to head FIFA.

“No, I don’t have any intention to be president of FIFA,” he said.

The 74-year-old was a part of the Brazilian World Cup winning sides of 1958, 1962 and 1970 and exuded confidence he would have achieved the same level of success playing in the modern era.


“Modern day football is tough, but yes I would have still achieved the same feat that I had so many years back. Footballers are born. God gave me the gift to play football,” he said.

Pele, considered the most complete footballer the game has ever seen, conceded that his legendary teammates too contributed to his success.

“When I started playing football at 17, there was a buzz in Brazil surrounding me, everybody said “look at this player”.

“But then I had some great team-mates too in the form of Garrincha, Didi and Vava. Later I have played with the likes of Zico. When I was with New York Cosmos, I played with the likes of Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia. I did not play alone, there was someone who always played beside and with me,” Pele recalled.

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The Brazilian also said he was very disappointed with Brazil’s World Cup campaign in 2014 where they lost 1-7 to Germany in the semis.

“We have some of the best players in Brazil but unfortunately we did not have much time to prepare the team before the World Cup. You have to have the players together for a longer time to prepare better but that wasn’t possible. Now a days players managers decide for them if they would be playing for the country or the club,” he said.

“Presently we have a lot of problems in different positions of the field.”

Pele also named former England footballer Bobby Moore as the best he has ever seen.

“People don’t take much notice of defenders. To me the best was Bobby Moore. But over the last ten years without a doubt it is Messi.”

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