Melo, a key figure in Fluminense’s victorious Copa Libertadores campaign, has placed the Argentine on par with iconic figures like Pele and Diego Maradona.
Despite being 36, Messi continues to shine for both club and country.
His recent achievements, leading Argentina to their third World Cup title and claiming an unprecedented eighth Ballon d’Or in 2023, have solidified his status among the pantheons of the game’s greatest.
In a recent 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Brazil, although Messi had a relatively subdued performance at the Maracana, Argentina secured a 1-0 victory, marking the Selecao’s first home loss in a World Cup qualifier, per Sky Sports.
Before the game, Melo had expressed his sentiments, indicating his admiration for the Argentine’s continuous evolution and exceptional recent performances, lauding the veteran forward as ‘the best in the world’.
“Brazil play against the world champion, and they have Messi, who for me is the best player in history with Pele and Maradona,” he told Ole, as quoted by Sportskeeda.
The 40-year-old ceded that Messi did not have the speed of his younger years but appeared to have compensated with a greater vision on the pitch.
“It’s crazy, it’s awesome. If he doesn’t have speed, he has other things that are much better than two, three, four or five years ago. That’s why he won the Ballon d’Or so many times . With the ball at his foot, it’s fantastic, but without the ball, positioning yourself to see where the ball lands.”
Messi names player on his level
Kimbiblog Sports also reported on Messi’s take on the GOAT debate, one of the enduring debates in global football revolving around the concept of the best of all time.
Many across the sport’s spectrum have attempted to discern the most exceptional player in history, with many naming the Argentine and Portuguese star, Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, when questioned about the footballer he deemed as being on par with his own greatness in the sport, Messi had only one name in his thoughts – his famed rival.