Pele, though, has suggested that the 31-year-old is one-dimensional and too reliant on his left foot to be compared to other iconic figures at the top of the world game. Pele told Folha de Sao Paulo:
”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?”
“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.”
“[Franz] Beckenbauer, [Johan] Cruyff were also excellent players.”
While Pele may not be Messi’s biggest fan, there is no questioning his achievements since bursting onto the scene at Barca.
A remarkable tally of 567 club goals have been recorded in 653 appearances, with another 65 netted in 128 outings for his country.
Messi has also won five Golden Balls, nine La Liga titles, four Champions League crowns and three Club World Cups.
International honours have proved elusive, though, having suffered final heartache at the World Cup and Copa America.