The Brazilian had high praise for the Mexican youngster, while suggesting that the Argentina and Barcelona star plays better for his club than he does at international level
The 22-year-old has been in fantastic form since moving from Chivas in 2010, scoring 20 times in 42 appearances, and Pele had kind words for the young forward.
"There is no doubt that Hernandez is a promising player. He is excellent, I have seen some games of his on television and he is a fantastic footballer," the three-time World Cup winner told reporters at a press conference held on Monday afternoon.
"He could be the next Messi because he has great talent; he is a big surprise just as Hugo Sanchez was because he is another that scores a lot of goals.
"We should wait a little, because we still don't know how he will play in the Mexican team... but without doubt, he has huge potential."
Messi also found himself in Pele's spotlight, but the Brazilian had rather less complimentary words for the Barcelona star and fellow protagonist in the Champions League final.
"There is a big difference between Barcelona's Messi and Argentina's Messi. When Messi plays in the Seleccion he is not the same player," he concluded.