Speaking after his former club Santos beat Penarol 2-1 to lift the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday evening, the 70-year-old told the press: "Messi better than Pele? To get there he needs to score more than 1283 goals."
Pele appeared to hit back at former Argentina coach Diego Maradona who recently claimed Neymar was bad-mannered just like the three-time World Cup winner, after the Santos forward said he could be better than Messi by staying in Brazil, rather than moving to Europe where Real Madrid have been linked with him.
Pele added: "Neymar has great talent. I hope Neymar doesn't end up like Messi, who plays so well for his club but does nothing for his country [Argentina]."
Messi scored 31 goals in La Liga, and 12 in the Champions League, including one in the final at Wembley as his side lifted the European Cup last term.