Former Brazil international Juliano Belletti has says his ex FC Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi is the “Pele of this generation”.
Lionel Messi was in scintillating form in the 2014-15 season for FC Barcelona, scoring an incredible 60 goals in 66 games as the Catalan giants won the treble of Champions League, La Liga, and Spanish Cup.
Messi the Pele of this generation
Linking his performances to the great Brazil superstar, former team mate Juliano Belleti hailed Lionel Messi as the best player of the modern era, saying that he does not deserves to be criticized back in his homeland.
“Messi is the Pele of this generation,” he told Sport.
“I do not understand the criticism of him in his own country. You cannot criticise a player like Messi. But it also happened to Ronaldinho in Brazil.”
Lionel Messia s performances with Argentina have been under scanner again following the loss of Argentina to Chile in the Copa America final.
Messi was a shadow of the player who took FC Barcelona to a treble glory as the Spanish side won all the trophies they participated in thanks to some magical performances by the Argentina captain.
The final performance by Messi in Copa America saw the player coming under heavy criticism by the legendary Diego Maradona among others, who questioned if Messi was Swedish or Argentine.
Neymar will mature
Belletti also leapt to the defence of fellow Brazilian and FC Barcelona star Neymar, who was also widely criticized for getting himself sent off in this summer’s Copa America during the group stage and subsequently missed the rest of the tournament.
“He’s young. People think he’s older than he is. He still has time to mature. He should rest well and have a good holiday because he deserves it.”
Is Messi the Pele of this era?
What Belleti is probably suggesting is that Lionel Messi, like Pele in his era, is the undoubted greatest player of his generation. And while that argument could still be bought, literally speaking, Pele won three world cups and won everything that he could with Santos.
Lionel Messi has won not a single major trophy with Argentina national side, but one can argue his achievement with FC Barcelona far surpass Pele’s for Santos.
There is plenty of time to win something with Argentina and come Russia 2018, Leo Messi will be 31 and at the peak of his career. Maybe he will rest this debate once and for all. He should, or it will be such a shame.