Long way for Messi and Rooney to be branded as greats: Pele
London: Brazilian legend Pele has reckoned that French footballer Zinedine Zidane was a more complete player than Argentine striker Lionel Messi, who is touted as the finest footballer today.
"For example, watch Lionel Messi play for Barcelona. He is very good. Exceptional. But for Argentina, he``s completely different,” a leading daily quoted Pele, as saying.
"Compare him to Zinedine Zidane. He won the World Cup and was at the top for 15 years. He was a more complete player than Messi,” he added.
"Before Zidane, there was Johan Cruyff, Franz Beckenbauer, Michel Platini and Bobby Moore. Great players who won World Cups or, in Cruyff and Platini`s case, starred in them,” Pele further said.
He also said that England striker Wayne Rooney has a long way to go to achieve his stature.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson had earlier described Rooney as "The White Pele".
"He`s a good player. But you can`t really compare him to me. I scored a lot of goals. I don`t know if Rooney has,” Pele said.
He also rated Dutch footballer Cruyff higher than Argentine player Diego Maradona
Pele predicted that the US would be the next major force in world football.
He further said hosting the 2014 World Cup would bring Brazil to the notice of the world as a country, rather than just their football.
"The country has a great opportunity to leave a legacy. We will always have good players, but we have a problem with coaches. We are always changing them. This needs to be sorted,” he said.