Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Them's Fighting Words!

Think Lionel Messi is best player in the world? Well, according to Pelé, you need think again...

"...some are saying that Messi is better than Pelé. Well, he has to be better than Neymar first..."

That's right. Pelé is on record saying that the 20-year-old Brazilian striker Neymar is a better player - RIGHT NOW - than Lionel Messi. Wow... This is the same Lionel Messi who scored his 61st goal of the year for Barcelona the other day and who scored 2 goals against Neymar's Santos team at the Club World Cup Final in December.
Photo Credit:

Now there's a couple things to consider here.

One, Pelé is from Brazil. Neymar is from Brazil. Messi is from Argentina. There is no love lost between these two nations when it comes to soccer. Thing Army/Navy, Celtics/Lakers, Red Sox/Yankees, etc. That's the sort of rivalry we're dealing with. No way is Pelé going to side with Messi over his countryman.

Two, the one knock on Messi is that while he's been unbelievable for Barcelona, he's failed to deliver on for Argentina. Pelé won three World Cups, Maradona won one, Messi of course has zero World Cup Titles and was shutout in South Africa in 2010. I don't know that Messi's failings on the international stage warrant putting him below Neymar (who also has zero World Cup wins), but it should also be worth noting that Messi hasn't scored against Brazil since 2005 when he was playing with the U-20s. Conversely Neymar scored against Argentina in Brazil's 2-0 win at the Superclásico de las Américas in September. However, asterisk, the rosters for that tourney were limited to footballers playing in either the Argentine or Brazilian leagues.

Three, how do we even quantify best player? Most skilled? Best results? Neymar may very well have more skills than Messi does, but you can't dispute Messi's results - at least at the club level.

I dunno, what do you guys think?

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