One of the major gripes about Brazilian legend Pele is just how eager he seems to remind everyone how much better he was than some of the other contenders to be called the greatest football player of all time.
Indeed, given the relative scarcity of footage from his playing days compared to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as some of his bizarre outbursts over the years, a man who won three World Cups and played in arguably the greatest team of all-time can often be seen as a comedic figure.
One of the strangest tirades to come out of his mouth was leveled against Messi, who recently overtook him as the top goalscorer in South American men’s competition.
Back in 2019, Pele suggested Messi could not use his weaker right foot and, as a result, could not be compared to either him or the iconic Diego Maradona.
“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?” he said to Folha de Sao Paulo (via The Daily Mirror).
“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.”
Of course, the theory holds no weight.
In fact, Transfermarkt’s goal data suggests Messi has scored 81 club goals over the course of his stellar career with his right foot, while also breaking the aforementioned record with his second against Bolivia for Argentina last night with that action.
To suggest Messi is a one-footed player would be ridiculous. One of the greatest goalscorers of all time, the idea that they’ve all come with one foot is ludicrous. This is a man, after all, who scored a header in a Champions League final, too.
Once again, Messi has made Pele look foolish.