Neymar has the potential to be better than Messi, insists Pele

The Brazil legend has hailed the former Santos star's improvement over the last two years and has tipped Germany or Spain to lift the World Cup in 2014
By Mike Slane and Alex Labidou

Brazil legend Pele believes new Barcelona signing Neymar has the potential to develop into a better player than Lionel Messi.

The former Santos star completed his €57 million move to the Liga giants on Monday, when he was presented to around 56,000 fans at Camp Nou.

Speaking at his unveiling, Neymar revealed how he was looking forward to helping Messi "continue being the best player in the world" although Pele is adamant that the Brazil forward has all the attributes to potentially surpass his Argentine team-mate.

"Neymar has really gone up the last two years," he told Goal. "He can use both feet well and get up in the air.

"The difference that I try to explain to the people is that both are really good. I love Messi, I love the player. But to make the comparison, I think Neymar has the capabilities to play better than Messi... or maybe not.

"I'm not happy, because Santos lost a good player! But, seriously, I think it's good for him, because Neymar was no doubt the best player in Brazil and now he gets the experience to play abroad.

"Playing in Europe is a little different than playing in South America. Football in Europe is a little more tough, while South America is a little more laid back and technical."

Ahead of the 2014 World Cup being held in Brazil, Pele does not believe the hosts have what it takes to win the tournament, instead tipping Germany and Spain for success.

"I think Brazil have an excellent opportunity to do well," he told added. "To win [the World Cup] is very hard in football, but the team has the players.

"The team had almost three years with Mano Menezes. Now, they have one month with Felipe and [technical director Carlos Alberto] Parreira, they are excellent coaches."

"If you had to select now, one year before the World Cup, I think Germany would be a good surprise, they have a good team and good players, and Spain no doubt. Then Brazil."