In the same interview, Pele also said Argentinian World Cup victor Maradona was "much better" than his compatriot Messi - although the Brazilian has been on record as that even Maradona could not compare in the pantheon of all-time greats, due to the same apparent flaws as Messi.
"He had bad luck because the team didn't win the World Cup and he was branded", Pele told Folha de Sao Paulo.
"How can you compare? To compare with me, then he should use the left and right foot, score goals with his head", - said Pele.
Nevertheless, this was only good enough to give him a fifth-place finish in this week's Ballon d'Or vote, as Real Madrid's Luka Modric walked off with the main prize - the first time since 2006 Messi has not attained a podium place at the prestigious gala.
Pele said he finds it hard to defend Neymar from criticism over what is perceived as excessive simulation and has urged the Paris Saint-Germain striker to make the most of his ability. For me Maradona was one of the best.More news: Negotiations between Red Sox, Nathan Eovaldi ‘intensifying’
Pele, meanwhile, said no one should try to compare him with Messi, suggesting their skillset was completely different. Much better. [Franz] Beckenbauer, [Johan] Cruyff are also better.
Brazil superstar Neymar came under fire for his on-field theatrics at the World Cup, where the Selecao were beaten in the quarter-finals by Belgium. "If you ask me, 'Was he better than Messi?' Yes, he was".
He said, "I think Neymar is a more complete player than him, but in Europe everyone speaks more about Mbappe".
"I scored more goals than my father".