One skill, one leg, can't head - Pele's damning assessment of Messi

By Sports Desk December 06, 2018

Pele has belittled Lionel Messi as a player who only has "one leg" and "one skill".

The Brazil great is regarded by many observers to the greatest footballer of all time but has seen this status come under scrutiny on account of Messi's phenomenal exploits for Barcelona over the past decade.

Indeed, three-time World Cup winner Pele does not even think Messi is the best Argentinian player in history – telling Folha de Sao Paulo that Diego Maradona was "much better".

"How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn't head the ball well?” Pele said, comparing his own playing attributes to the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"How can you compare? To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers.

"As far as I'm concerned, Maradona was one of the best players ever. If you ask me, 'Was he better than Messi?' Yes, he was. Much better.

"[Franz] Beckenbauer, [Johan] Cruyff were also excellent players."

Messi led Barca to a LaLiga and Copa del Rey double last season, the ninth and sixth times respectively the four-time Champions League winner has claimed those trophies.

The 31-year-old has scored 41 goals and supplied 20 assists in 45 matches across all competitions in 2018, giving him more goal involvements than any other player in Europe's top five leagues.

Nevertheless, this was only good enough to give him a fifth-place finish in this week's Ballon d'Or vote, as Real Madrid's Luka Modric walked off with the main prize – the first time since 2006 Messi has not attained a podium place at the prestigious gala.

Related items

  • Valverde not worried about Suarez drought Valverde not worried about Suarez drought

    Ernesto Valverde insists he is not worried about Luis Suarez's goal drought after he once again struggled in Barcelona's 0-0 Champions League draw at Lyon.

    Uruguay international Suarez was excellent in the first half of the season, but he has been rather less effective in front of goal since then, and that is reflected in Barca's form, having now drawn four of their last five games in all competitions.

    Suarez was lively in France against Lyon in the opening leg of their last-16 clash, sniffing out a few opportunities, but his finishing left a lot to be desired and he looked visibly frustrated on numerous occasions on Tuesday.

    It was the fifth game in a row Suarez has not scored in, while he passed 24 hours of playing time in the Champions League without an away goal in the 22nd minute.

    Barca head coach Valverde is not concerned, however.

    "I would worry if he did not generate scoring chances, which is what is asked of a striker," Valverde told reporters.

    "He always has chances and if not, he generates them and is a headache for the rival. And, in any case, he is linked well with the occasions we've created.

    "Football is a matter of success. If the opposition wastes occasions I get nervous; if we waste them, it only bothers me."

  • Valverde accepts 0-0 a 'dangerous' result to take back to Camp Nou Valverde accepts 0-0 a 'dangerous' result to take back to Camp Nou

    Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde accepts the 0-0 draw they secured away to Lyon in the Champions League on Tuesday is a "dangerous" result.

    Valverde's side generally controlled proceedings in France, but they were wasteful in front of goal and Lionel Messi was unable to create much of note.

    It leaves the tie nicely poised for the second leg at Camp Nou on March 13 and Barca will be seen as favourites, but Valverde is well aware that Tuesday's result provides Lyon with encouragement.

    "I do not think it is very easy to win away from home in the Champions League," Valverde told Movistar. "We have absolutely dominated and they have not lost any match in this competition so far this season.

    "Lyon had chances in the beginning but we came back well and we controlled the game until the end.

    "We have created a lot of chances, but football is a matter of success and today we have not had it. The tie is in the air, 0-0 is a dangerous result, we will not kid ourselves."

    Lyon defender Leo Dubois believes the draw gives his side every chance to progress to the quarter-finals and feels they did well despite Messi occupying more than one defender at a time.

    "They have a player [Messi] who keeps a full defensive line busy," he said. "We tried to push them out from the middle, as they are less of a threat from the wings.

    "The scoreline is fine for us. We still have a chance to progress even if we know it will be tough. We believe in ourselves.

    "We weren't necessarily in control at times. We may also have mismanaged some counter situations. Everyone did their part and made the effort. We have everything to play for in three weeks. It's up to us to play a big match."

  • Cavalier maintain stranglehold over Waterhouse Cavalier maintain stranglehold over Waterhouse

    Cavalier registered yet another win over Waterhouse courtesy of a goal from Nicholas Hamilton.  Waterhouse have not beaten Cavalier in four years.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.