Neymar: Messi is my idol

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Barcelona's big summer signing Neymar has heaped further praise on new team-mate Lionel Messi, claiming that the Argentina international is one of his idols.

The 21-year-old, who joined Barcelona in early June for £48.6m, also said it was a "dream" to finally make his debut for the Catalan giants.

Neymar made his first eagerly-anticipated appearance in Barcelona colours during the closing stages of the club's 2-2 draw with Lechia Gdansk on Tuesday evening.

“I have fulfilled a dream," the Brazil international was quoted as saying by Football Espana. "I think I need a little more time to get into shape."

Unsurprisingly, Messi was on the scoresheet during the 2-2 draw. Neymar has been nothing but complimentary about the four-time Ballon d'Or winner since signing on at the Nou Camp, and has now praised the 26-year-old's good character.

“Messi is a great person." Neymar continued. "He is an idol for me and I am very happy to be here and that I get the chance to play with him.

“Speaking with Messi is very easy. He’s a great player, I’m happy to be here. I am just thinking of helping.”

Neymar is expected to play more minutes on Friday evening, when Barcelona host the forward's former club Santos in the annual Joan Gamper Trophy at the Nou Camp.

After growing up in the Santos ranks, before cementing his reputation as one of the most talented Brazilian youngsters of his generation with the club, Neymar expects the game to feel a little odd - but insists he will be determined to help Barcelona win the match.

He added: “It will be a bit strange, different, but now I defend Barca’s colours and I’ll give it my all.”

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Lionel Messi
La Liga

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