Cesc Fabregas believes Neymar has what it takes to become the new king of Barcelona when Leo Messi starts to decline, but is unsure whether or not the Brazilian can ever reach the Argentinian's level.
The 23-year-old has started to show signs of becoming the kind of player he has always threatened to be – the kind that can win the Ballon d'Or. An injury to Messi allowed Neymar to move into the spotlight for the first time since his arrival in 2013, and he took that chances with both hands.
Speculation has continued to link Messi with a summer exit from the Nou Camp, meaning Neymar may get the chance to take the leading role on a full-time basis.
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But Neymar's incredible start to the season has left Barcelona fans looking at life beyond Messi for the first time in over a decade. If the living legend does leave, they will still have a team capable of dominating European football.
Now former Barcelona star Fabregas has provided further positivity surrounding the situation, claiming Neymar is set to dethrone Messi in the next few years.
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His time will come
"Adaptation always takes time but you could already see the natural talent, his love for football and his amazing skills," the Chelsea star told Goal. "You could see that he would reach this level sooner or later.
"I think it will be difficult [for Neymar to reach Messi's level] but when Leo retires from football in a few years, I think Neymar will be the one who reigns."
Neymar has scored 12 goals in 11 La Liga appearances so far this season and a further two in the Champions League. To add to that, he also has seven assists in all competitions.
His rise to prominence coincided with Messi's knee ligament injury, which kept him out for two months.
Fans were eager to see Messi return in time to face Real Madrid in El Clasico and he managed to make the bench. But by the time he took to the pitch in the second half, Neymar and Co. had already sealed the victory.
It must have been a worrying sight for the four-time Ballon d'Or winner, who, for the first time in his career, he may no longer be the main man.
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