The striker’s performances for Santos have drawn comparisons with Pele at the same age and the 19-year-old has been linked to both Chelsea and Manchester City in the English Premier League.
However, the 70-year-old Pele, who won three World Cups and spent virtually all his career at Santos, thinks Neymar would be best served by developing at home.
“He can be a great player, he can be like (Lionel) Messi or Ronaldo, no doubt,” Pele told reporters at an event in London to launch an opus for the New York Cosmos, where he ended his career.
“But I think it’s a little complicated for him to move to a club in England or Italy at the moment. The marking is very tight there.
“He would find that a little difficult because he’s very young. The game is very physical in England and Italy. Maybe in Holland or France or even Spain it would be better for him.”
With Brazil hosting the World Cup in 2014, Pele believes it would be good for his country’s chances to keep Neymar away from the clutches of Europe’s biggest clubs.
“I think it is very difficult to keep him in Brazil,” Pele said. “Santos is my team and he started there with us. I hope he stays there until more or less the 2014 World Cup but it will be a little difficult to keep him here.
“He hasn’t reached his potential yet, but he is already an excellent player.”