Chelsea wonderkid target 'better than Messi'

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Brazilian legend Pele has waded further into the debate over the talent of Chelsea target Neymar.

The 71-year-old former Santos superstar has seen a handful of young prodigies tipped for greatness in South America, but few have had the credentials of Neymar, according to Pele.

"When compared individually, Neymar is better than Messi. He scores with his left foot and with his right, he is an excellent player," he said.

"He is comfortable on both sides of the body and individually for me is the best."

The 19-year-old forward is set to go head-to-head with the three-times Ballon d'Or winner at the Club World Cup later this month, giving the world a chance to see the two players test their skills against each other.

One observer is sure to be Andre Villas-Boas, with the Chelsea manager heavily linked with a summer move for the player.

A move to Stamford Bridge was said to be off, then on, then off again as the future of the teenager remained uncertain, with a new long-term contract in Brazil doing little to silence the speculation over a move.

Real Madrid and Barca are also thought to be keen admirers, with Chelsea facing a financial battle with the Spanish pair should they wish to pursue a deal. A fee in excess of £35 million is said to be needed to bring the player to west London.

The Chelsea target, who would join compatriots David Luiz, Alex and Ramires at the club were he to move, has been courting controversy in his homeland of late after branding a referee a thief.

A court has since ordered him to pay £6,000 in libel damages.

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