Pele Reveals He Spoke To Neymar About His Game Theatrics, Takes A Dig At Messi

| December 6 , 2018 , 12:32 IST

Three-time World Cup winner Pele had a talk to his fellow Santos product about his actions, which he found tough to reconcile.

The Brazil legend revealed in the  interview with Paulo that he’s spoken to Neymar about his playacting and took a dig at Argentina and Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Pele said he finds it difficult to defend Neymar from criticism over what is perceived as excessive simulation and has urged the Paris Saint-Germain striker to make the most of his ability.

He told Folha de Sao Paulo, “It’s difficult to defend Neymar for all the things he does besides playing football. I spoke with him and reminded him of his ability.”

“We talked and I explained: 'The God of football gave you the gift. What you do complicates it."

Pele believes Neymar is a better player than his fellow PSG forward Kylian Mbappe, who won the Best Young Player award as France triumphed at Russia 2018.

He said, “I think Neymar is a more complete player than him, but in Europe everyone speaks more about Mbappe.”

Pele on Messi said, “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, doesn’t head the ball well?”

He continued: “How can you compare? To compare with Pelé, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers.”

Pelé even praised Diego Maradona,“You will ask me,” the Brazilian said, “was [Maradona] better than Messi? Yes, by a lot. Much better.”

There were concerns for Pele in January amid conflicting reports regarding his health after he pulled out of a scheduled appearance in the United Kingdom.

Offering an update, he said: "Thanks to God, I am well. I had three surgeries in the past years, but I'm not 100 per cent. I don't feel any more pain, I feel more weakness."