Iniesta reacts to Pele criticism of Messi

Last week, the Brazil icon Pele launched an astonishing tirade against Messi, discrediting his status in 'the greatest footballer of all time' debate.

"How can you make a comparison between a guy who heads the ball well, shoots with the left, shoots with the right and another who only shoots with one leg, only has one skill and doesn't head the ball well?" Pele said in an astonishing interview with Folha de Sao Paulo.

"How can you compare? To compare with Pele, it has to be someone who shoots well with the left, shoots well with the right, and scores headers," he added.

Iniesta, who was talking to the media at a promotional event for Ariel, carefully avoided responding directly to Pele's harsh criticism of the Argentine but declared that as far as he is concerned there has never been a better player.

"I do not want to answer what Pele said," the Vissel Kobe midfielder said.

"But he [Messi] is the best player in history, he's got all the records: headers, skills, right-footed shots, left-footed shots - I have not seen anyone do what he does and every year he exceeds my expectations."

Current teammate Jordi Alba also weighed in of the sentiments of the three-time FIFA World Cup winner in an interview with Sport after their 4-0 drubbing of Espanyol.

"Pele must not be able to see very well if he says what he says about Leo. It seems like a lie that someone in the world of football could speak like that."