Neymar, 26, has been heavily compared with Pele, whether it’s their goal record for Brazil or the weight of expectation their country places on them.
And while the 78-year-old believes the Paris Saint-Germain forward is a naturally gifted player, he has urged him to stop theatrics on the field of play - which dominated headlines during their 2018 World Cup failure.
"It's difficult to defend Neymar for all the things he does outside of soccer. I talked with him, I told him that in soccer, he's got it. He had bad luck because the team didn't win the World Cup and he was branded," Pele told Folha de Sao Paulo.
"I was with him twice in Europe. We talked and I told him: 'In soccer, God gave you a gift, but what you did is what made it difficult.
The Brazilian star, however, said Neymar is a "better player" than Frenchman Kylian Mbappe, his colleague at PSG and who this year won the World Cup in Russia with the French national team.
"I think that Neymar is a better player than he is, but in Europe, everyone talks more about Mbappe."
With 66 goals in 96 caps, Neymar is just 11 goals away from becoming the Selecao's all-time record goalscorer.