Pele caused a major stir with his comments about Lionel Messi this week.
The Brazil legend gave an interview with Folha de Sao Paulo in which he was asked whether Messi is the best player in history.
In Pele’s opinion, the answer is no.
“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, per Goal.
"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."
The 78-year-old went on to claim that Diego Maradona was also much better than Messi.
Pele has every right to believe that he and Maradona were both better than Messi - he’s not the only person who thinks that way - but it’s easy to pick holes in his analysis.
Video proves Pele wrong
Messi only shoots with one leg? Two of his most iconic goals in the Champions League, against Real Madrid in 2011 and Bayern Munich in 2015, came with his weaker right foot.
Messi doesn’t head the ball well? Tell that to Edwin van der Sar, who had to watch as the Argentinian scored with a perfectly placed header past him in the 2009 Champions League final.
In wake of Pele’s comments, it’s worth revisiting the video that proves Messi isn’t entirely dependent on his left foot.
The video shows Messi scoring with his right foot. The aforementioned goal against Real Madrid comes at the 7:31 mark; his wonderful goal against Bayern Munich at 8:56.
Someone should probably send it to Pele.
Messi even scored a hat-trick with his right foot in a Champions League meeting in 2014 against APOEL.
The idea that he’s completely inept with his weaker leg is utter nonsense.
Indeed, Messi is proud of the improvements that he’s made with his right foot.
In a September interview with Catalunya Radio, Messi listed it as one of the areas that he’s worked on to improve.
“I got a lot better at the final ball, with passes that finish with a goal,” he said, per AS.
“I also got a lot better at free-kicks and with my right leg.”
The one area where the 31-year-old feels he can be better is from the penalty spot.
“I’d like to be more effective with penalties,” he said in the same interview. “It’s really hard to practice penalties.”