Brazil legend Ronaldo has tipped Neymar to be the star of the 2014 World Cup finals, although he admits that Barcelona’s record signing currently comes across as Lionel Messi’s helper at the Camp Nou.
Neymar has enjoyed an impressive debut campaign in European football after completing his big-money move from Santos last summer, but Messi is still very much the main man at the club.
Ronaldo, however, believes that the Brazilian prodigy will emerge from Messi’s shadow and light up world football’s showpiece tournament this summer.
“After the Confederations Cup, I’m feeling more optimistic about Brazil,” Ronaldo was quoted as saying by AS. “We have a young team who have shown they have quality. Neymar will be the best Brazil player at the World Cup; he has already demonstrated his qualities. At the minute, he comes across as Messi’s helper at Barça but he’s our brightest hope for the future.
“If Brazil manage to reach the final with Neymar showing what he can do, he could be the big star at Brazil 2014”.
Neymar has continually praised Messi and, on numerous occasions over the past eight months, hailed him as the world’s best player.
The 22-year-old has scored 12 goals in 29 appearances for the Primera Division champions this season, while Messi has netted 25 in 28 games.
Neymar’s transfer, though, has been a subject of huge controversy in Spain this season.
Earlier this week, Barcelona paid £11.2m to the Spanish authorities after being charged with tax fraud over the Brazil international’s signing - but deny any wrongdoing.