Pep Guardiola says new Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has plenty to prove before he can be considered on the same level as the all-time greats after Arsene Wenger said he could be the next Pele.
The Arsenal manager heaped praise on the French teenager, who joined the Paris giant from Monaco in the transfer window, linking up with Brazilian superstar Neymar to form a frightening forward line.
But the City boss, when asked by reporters on Friday to compare Mbappe with Lionel Messi, whom Guardiola managed at Barcelona, reacted cautiously.
"Nobody can sit at the same table as Messi. Maybe Mbappe, he's a top player, he will be an outstanding player, I'm pretty sure of that.
"But to equal what Messi has done in 10 or 12 years, or Cristiano (Ronaldo), for example, we have to wait. I appreciate Mbappe wouldn't like me to put more pressure on his shoulders."
Guardiola said Argentine forward Messi had produced his best season after season.
"I think Messi has the numbers of 60-70 games every season, in the big games, always being there to score and assist, never injured, always plays every three days, never injured because he controls his body," he said.
"That's why I don't think we help with hypothetical suitors for him, saying you are going to be the new guy. So let Mbappe have the fantastic career he will have and after we"ll see in the future."