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Oct 27, 2011

Pele: No doubt Messi world's best

Brazil legend Pele believes Lionel Messi is the undisputed No. 1 footballer in the world at present, but has high hopes for Santos star Neymar.

When Harry met Pele

• Pele: Messi must score as many as me

Messi, 24, has been named World Player of the Year for the past two years having starred for Barcelona, recently climbing to second on the club's list of all-time leading goalscorer.

And Pele, widely recognised as the greatest player to have ever graced the game, has "no doubt" that the Argentina ace sits alone at the top of world football at the moment.

"Today there is no doubt Messi, he is the best player today," Pele told ESPNsoccernet. "I don't see any player who is better."

While Argentina can boast Messi and Diego Maradona as two of the best players of all time, Brazil has plenty of candidates of its own, with Pele of course leading the way.

And the former Santos and New York Cosmos striker is excited about the latest talent to come off Brazil's enviable player production line, teenage forward Neymar.

Asked whether the youngster can become the world's best, Pele told ESPNsoccernet: "Maybe Neymar is too young to be the best just yet. Messi has been around for a few years, while Neymar it has been just one and a half, two years.

"However, already there is no doubt that Neymar is one excellent player, very skilful, very dangerous, very intelligent. He needs more experience, a little more time, right now he needs a little more of a base.

"He has a good future but to be the best we have to wait a little bit because he has only played for one year, one year and half, though already the expectations are there."

Speculation has been rife for more than a year now that Neymar will move from Santos and become the costliest teenager in football history, with Barcelona and Real Madrid ready to pay €40 million to secure his services.

But Pele, who has been advising Neymar, insists the wonder-kid will be at his hometown club a little longer.

"I expect him to stay with Santos longer," Pele said. "At the moment we have a very important tournament, the Club World Cup, and this is a very important tournament for our club and for this player. This will give to him a lot of experience, this is important to him."


Pele was in London for his 71st birthday and to launch a new range of Pele Sport boots and iconic leisure clothes 'Viva A Revolucao Bonita'.

Harry Harris has written a biography of Pele entitled 'The Life and Times of Pele'. His new book '19: The Remarkable Story of United's League Championship Record' is available now

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