The Barcelona forward says he is delighted to be mentioned in the same breath as the two footballing greats, but insists he is not motivated by trying to surpass their achievementsLionel Messi has admitted that it is an honour to be compared with Pele and Maradona.
The Argentina international is on course to lift the Ballon d'Or for a fourth consecutive year and has received plaudits from far and wide for a spectacular 12 months for club and country.
However, the Barcelona man, who needs one more goal to equal Gerd Muller’s record of 85 goals in a calendar year, says he does not judge himself by the standards set by other players.
“I am honoured to be compared to both [Pele and Diego Maradona],” he told Voetbal International.
“But mostly I try to be better for me and for the team, not to surpass others.”
Messi scored twice in the Blaugrana's 5-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday to seal a record breaking start to the campaign for the club in La Liga and then revealed his hunger to make up for the disappointment of the previous campaign.
“I do not know what went wrong last season. But we will try our utmost to make sure it does not happen again and make sure we are hungry for more," he added.
The 25-year-old has often enjoyed fruitful partnership with Cesc Fabregas in attack and he says the two of them have a good understanding on and off the pitch.
“Cesc and I get on really well, we always know what each other wants. He is so easy to play with," Messi continued.
“I think we both know the type of game the club wants to play."