04/11/2012 07:58 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Pele: Messi Must Surpass Neymar To Be The Best Ever (VIDEO)

By Daniel Edwards,

Brazilian football idol Pele has restated his belief that Neymar is a better player than Barcelona star Lionel Messi, and argued that the Argentine must first overcome the young Santos star before he can challenge 'O Rei' as the greatest to ever play the game.

The three-time World Cup winner was speaking on Tuesday at a press conference marking Santos' centenary celebrations in April 2012. Never shy about publicizing the ability of Neymar to the press, the 71-year-old pushed the youngster ahead of Messi in his list of the world's current stars.

"Now everyone is talking about Messi, he is a star. But [to be the best ever] he must first become better than Neymar," he asserted. "At the moment Messi is just more experienced."

The Brazilian also played down the public feud he has allegedly maintained with Diego Maradona, insisting that there is no bad blood between the two men.

"You [journalists] are always saying that I am Maradona's rival, but it is not true. I was never his rival, and he was a great attacking midfielder," the legend explained.

Follow @GoalUSA on Twitter.

WATCH: Neymar Highlights