Brazil legend Pele has said that Neymar has all the qualities to be better than his new Barcelona teammate and FIFA Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

Speaking to, the three-time World Cup winning attacker, lauded the youngster for developing during his last few seasons with Santos FC, though he acknowledged that Neymar will take time to adjust to European football.

"Neymar has really gone up the last two years," Pele claimed of his compatriot. "He can use both feet good and get up in the air. Both are really good. I love Messi, I love the player. But to make the comparison, I think Neymar has the capabilities to play better than Messi."

However, the 70-year-old said that Neymar - who officially signed for Barcelona on Monday, after the La Liga champions won a heated bidding war with rivals Real Madrid - will initially lack the experience Messi has gained from playing outside his home continent.

Pele explained: "To play in Europe is a little different than to play in South America. Football in Europe is a little more tough, while South America is a little more laid back and technical."

He also recognised that his lifelong club Santos has lost an exceptional player in Neymar. "I'm not happy, because Santos lost a good player," he joked. "But, seriously, I think it's good for him, because Neymar was no doubt the best player in Brazil."

Neymar will return home to represent Brazil at the World Cup in 2014 and Pele believes that Luiz Felipe Scolari's side - currently 19th in the FIFA world rankings for national teams - has the potential to go all the way during next summer's tournament.

"I think Brazil has an excellent opportunity to do well," Pele asserted. "To win is very hard in football, but the team has the players. The team had almost three years with Mano Menezes. Unfortunately, we didn't have a base. Now, one month with Felipe and [technical director Carlos Alberto] Parreira, they are excellent coaches."


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