Pele says Lionel Messi is not the greatest ever player

Lionel Messi
Messi became only the fourth player to win the Ballon d'Or for a third time

Brazil legend Pele says Barcelona's Argentina star Lionel Messi has a long way to go to be considered his rival as the greatest player of all time.

But Pele thinks he needs to improve for Argentina and score more goals.

"When Messi's scored 1,283 goals like me, when he's won three World Cups, we'll talk about it," Pele told French newspaper Le Mondeexternal-link.

Messi has won the Champions League three times with Barcelona, as well as five league Spanish league titles.

But his only triumph with the national team was at the 2008 Olympics - while Pele's Brazil won the World Cup in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

The 71-year-old said: "I like Messi a lot, he's a great player. Technically, we're practically at the same level.

"He's a great player for Barcelona, but when he plays for Argentina he doesn't have the same success.

"People always ask me: 'When is the new Pele going to be born?' Never. My father and mother have closed the factory."