Pele, meanwhile, said no one should try to compare him with Messi, suggesting their skillset was completely different.
Do you think Pele is superior to Messi? Five key things to know...
The 26-year-old was heavily criticised for his antics at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, during which he got a lot of flak for diving and trying to get his opponents in trouble.
Interestingly, since Messi claimed his first La Liga title with Barcelona in 2005, he has gone on to win the Spanish league crown for an additional eight times.
The forward has also caught the eye with his mesmerising ability on the ball, but Pele isn't as impressed as everyone else.
Messi has recorded an impressive 567 club goals and 221 assists in 653 appearances and an additional 65 goals and 40 assists in 128 matches for Argentina.
He continued: "How can you compare?"
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He pointed out that to effectively compare with his own professional achievements, one would have "to shoot well with the left, shoot well with the right, and score headers".
"As far as I'm concerned, Maradona was one of the best players ever", Pele said on Wednesday in an interview with the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper. We talked and I told him: "'In football, God gave you a gift, but what you did is what made it hard'". Much better. (Franz) Beckenbauer and (Johan) Cruyff were also better.
Messi or Ronaldo, who does Pele prefer?
In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and won the FIFA Player of the Century award with Diego Maradona sharing the prize with him.
Speaking in 2017, Pele said: "No doubt". He's the best in the world with Cristiano [Ronaldo].
Pele has always been adamant that he is the greatest footballer of all time, but his swipe at the Argentine worldwide really does seem petty at best. "I don't feel any more pain, I feel more weakness".
"In terms of being a complete player, there's no doubt that Messi is the best".