Pele 'ok' if Neymar breaks his record

Pele (Gallo)
Pele (Gallo)

Cape Town-  Pele, who underwent spinal surgery in July, considers Lionel Messi to be the world's best current player and cites England's 1966 World Cup-winning midfielder Bobby Charlton as his "most difficult opponent".

Charlton was recently surpassed by Wayne Rooney as England's record goal-scorer and there is an expectation that Neymar will one day claim Pele's record for Brazil.

The Barcelona forward, 23, has already scored 46 international goals and has Pele's mark of 77 in his sights.

But with Neymar having started out, like Pele, at Santos, the three-time World Cup-winner is relaxed about the prospect.

"Coincidentally, Neymar is from Santos. He started there," said Pele, who also spent two years at New York Cosmos.

"My son, Edinho (sentenced last year to a 33-year jail term for money laundering), who was a goalkeeper, was his coach in the under-20s. If Neymar breaks this record, fantastic. One more for Santos!"

As much as he enjoys watching Neymar and Messi strut their stuff, however, Pele resorts to an old refrain when asked if anyone in the modern game reminds him of himself.

"I used to say: 'Listen, everybody wants to find a new Pele. It's impossible,'" he says.

"My mother and my father closed the machine. No more!"

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