Neymar has shared some of his thoughts on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in a fascinating interview as the Paris Saint-Germain superstar offers a frank assessment of their influence on him.
The iconic duo remain at an elite level above their rivals as they continue to produce in their 30s and have collected an incredible haul of trophies during their illustrious careers thus far.
While Messi will hope to continue to lead Barcelona to success this season and beyond, Ronaldo opted to make a change and sealed a transfer to Juventus this past summer.
Nevertheless, the passion and ambition remains the same, as does the quality on the pitch with the 33-year-old scoring seven goals and providing five assists in 12 appearances so far this season while Messi has 12 goals in as many outings along with six assists.
In turn, it comes as no surprise that Neymar is still aspiring to reach that level even if he has enjoyed plenty of success in his own right with Barcelona and PSG, but he has opened up on his thoughts towards the two great rivals and has revealed he takes something from both.
“Facing Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and I played with Messi, who is, for me, one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he is my idol in football,” he told The Players Tribune.
“With Messi, I learned every day, whether during our practice, or playing with him, or just watching him play. And that made me stronger and it increased my capacity on the field because I kept learning a lot from him.
“As for Cristiano Ronaldo, he is a monster. Facing him is a pleasure and an honor, but we have to be more prepared. He is one of the greatest in football so you get smarter, you get alert, but at the same time you learn a lot, too. So, they are two of the big guys that I can relate to, because I want to learn, I want more, I want to win, I want more trophies, score more goals … so I keep learning from them every day.”
Time will tell if the Brazilian forward can ultimately be regarded as being on a level playing field with those two, but at 26 years of age, he certainly has time on his side to continue to earn that accolade and prove that he belongs in the same bracket as them.
That process will continue with PSG this season, but as noted by The Independent, speculation refuses to go away over a possible return to the Nou Camp in the future with Messi even said to want him back at the club.