Pele and Lionel Messi are two of the greatest footballers of all time.
No matter who you consider to be the ultimate GOAT, there’s no getting away from the fact that Pele and Messi have defined their respective footballing eras with extraterrestrial talent.
However, it’s when you try and bring those two epochs together that things get blurry, especially when there are disputes surrounding the way goals were recorded in decades gone by.
Pele vs Messi
Besides, you may have noticed over the last 12 months that Messi was believed to have surpassed Pele’s world record for the most goals scored for a single club in football history.
But even that’s up for debate because Santos were keen to bat away those suggestions by claiming that Pele has actually scored more than 1,000 goals for the Brazilian giants.
As such, it’s become a long-running joke that Pele – who brands himself as the ‘Leading Goal Scorer of All Time’ with 1,283 strikes – will claim goals no matter the context in which they were scored.
Man City vs Chelsea Match Reaction (Football Terrace)
Controversy surrounding the totals
And the highest tallies pinned to Pele controversially include friendlies, which, by way of the machinations of the modern game, simply aren’t afforded to Messi on such a regular basis.
However, there are exceptions to that rule and YouTuber ‘Messi Magic’ couldn’t resist a dig at Pele by creating a video of the day ‘Lionel Messi Shows How PELE Scored 1200 Goals’ earlier this year.
It shows footage from the ‘Duelo de Gigantes’ exhibition match from 2013 between Messi and Neymar and imagines a scenario where the Barca star played in as many friendly games as Pele.
‘Lionel Messi Shows How PELE Scored 1200 Goals’
And with Messi swaggering to two goals in the first-half, as well as passing up plenty of chances to score more in order to assist his teammates, it’s fair to say things were pretty easy for him.
Now, obviously, bear in mind that the whole premise of the video is a thinly-veiled dig and it’s doubtful that the game would genuinely stand up as an analogue for 1960s exhibition games.
But once you apply that pinch of salt, it makes for amusing video nonetheless, so be sure to check out Messi enjoying himself in a friendly setting down below:
He just makes everything look so easy, doesn’t it?
Pele’s classy reaction to Messi’s record
We’re not sure Pele would appreciate the comparison between some of Santos games to such a jocose kickabout but then again, he did famously slam Messi’s heading and weak foot skills.
Though, to Pele’s credit, he was keen to tip his hat to the Barcelona legend when the record changed hands, which suggests that he doesn’t put the same status upon his friendly goals.
According to The Sun, Pele classily remarked: “When your heart overflows with love, it is difficult to change your path.
“Like you, I know what it’s like to love wearing the same shirt every day. Like you, I know that there is nothing better than the place we feel at home.
“Congratulations on your historic record, Lionel. But above all, congratulations on your beautiful career at Barcelona.
“Stories like ours, of loving the same club for so long, unfortunately will be increasingly rare in football. I admire you very much.”
And I think that’s the sort of note on which to end because try as we might to compare Messi and Pele, football has changed so much between their careers that they’re particularly two different sports.