Messi starting to surpass Pele and Maradona – Zico

Date published: Monday 22nd February 2016 8:42

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Zico believes Barcelona forward Lionel Messi is on the brink of surpassing the likes of Pele and Diego Maradona as the greatest footballer of all-time.

Messi and Co head to Arsenal in the Champions League last 16 on Tuesday, with his forward colleagues Luis Suarez and Neymar also sure to be a major threat in London.

Former Brazil playmaker Zico considers Messi as accomplished a player as there has ever been.

“He is starting to surpass the level of Pele, Garrincha, (Johan) Cruyff, (Franz) Beckenbauer and (Diego) Maradona,” Zico told Barca TV.

Messi recently became the first player to reach 300 league goals in Spain, and at the age of 28 he could have many years left in the game.

He has delivered against Arsenal in the past, most memorably when scoring four at the Nou Camp against Arsene Wenger’s side in 2010.

With Suarez and Neymar now providing a further threat, Zico fears the worst for Arsenal over two legs.

“The trident is fantastic because they play as a team and suit each other perfectly,” Zico said as reported by Barcelona’s website.

“Barca are favourites both in London and at Camp Nou.”

Despite his admiration for Messi, Zico suggested next year could see a Barcelona team-mate land the FIFA Ballon d’Or award.

He said: “It would not be surprising at all if Neymar was named the best player in the world.”

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