Brazilian legend Pele has heaped praise on Manchester United’s Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez, arguing that the Mexico striker could reach the same heights achieved by Argentine maestro Lionel Messi in world football.

The young goal-machine has been in fantastic form in Manchester since moving from Chivas in 2010, scoring 20 times in 42 appearances as the club have gone top of the Premier League and reached the final of the Champions League. Pele had kind words for the 22-year-old, and saw great things in his future.

“There is no doubt that Hernandez is a promising player. He is excellent, I have seen some games of his on television and he is a fantastic footballer,” the three-time World Cup winner told reporters at a press conference held Monday afternoon.

“He could be the next Messi because he has great talent; he is a big surprise just as Hugo Sanchez was because he is another that scores a lot of goals.

“We should wait a little, because we still don’t know how he will play in the Mexican team… but without doubt, he has huge potential.”

Messi also found himself in Pele’s spotlight, but the Brazilian had rather less complimentary words for the Barcelona star and fellow protagonist in the Champions League final.

“There is a big difference between Barcelona’s Messi and Argentina’s Messi. When Messi plays in the Seleccion he is not the same player,” he concluded, firing an early shot in the old rivalry as Argentina and Brazil prepare to play the Copa America in July.

Messi and Chicharito will meet in Wembley on May 28 for the Champions League final, in a repeat of 2009’s contest in Rome which was won by Barcelona.



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