Brazil legend Pele believes compatriot Neymar made the right choice in choosing to join Barcelona this summer.
Santos striker Neymar had been linked with a host of top European clubs over the past two years, but Pele insists the move to Barca was the most sensible for him at this stage of his career.
“I think that between the options of him going to England or Spain he chose the best one on offer by signing for Barcelona,” the 72-year-old told a Press conference on the eve of the Confederations Cup in his native country.
Asked how he thinks Neymar will adapt to life in Europe, Pele feels his main difficulty will lie out on the pitch.
“It’s clear the marking is different to Brazilian and other South American football. The players are stronger and the marking is tighter, with the referees used to this type of play, so I think this will be Neymar’s chief problem.”
Pele was also invited to give his opinion on whom he considers the better player – Neymar or Lionel Messi?
“They are different players in almost every way. Messi was brought up in Europe as he went there aged 14 or 15 and already possesses a lot of experience. Both have lots of quality but different styles.
“I hope Neymar gains some great experience in a team like Barcelona’s and can obtain the confidence needed to play with Brazil at the World Cup,” he explained.
“Here in Brazil, and speaking as a Santos supporter, we would like him to have the same luck I did to become the best player in the world, but there are some obstacles he needs to overcome.
”Firstly, he needs to play in a World Cup and secondly he needs to improve his heading ability. By way of comparison, there was [Zinedine] Zidane a short time ago, who was one of the last great names in world football.
“Neymar still needs to reach that level,” added Pele.