Kaka is convinced it’s only a matter of time before Neymar cements his status as the world’s best footballer by winning the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
The individual accolade, the most prestigious in club football, has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo since 2008. Kaka was the last player aside from Messi or Ronaldo to win the award, back in 2007.
But Kaka is pleased to see Neymar on the podium for the 2015 Ballon d’Or - the first Brazilian to make the top three since 2007 - and is confident the Barcelona star will land his hands on the big prize in the not-too-distant future.
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"It had always been a rotation: Ronaldo and Zidane won it three times, but there was always some other player - names like [Luis] Figo, Ronaldinho, myself, Rivaldo, [Fabio] Cannavaro," Kaka told FIFA.com.
"Then comes this succession of Cristiano and Messi, only the two of them - and it is fair, for what they have been doing year after year.
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"It's difficult to point out a single reason for this [lack of Brazilians in the final three in recent years], but it must serve to alert Brazilian football. And, truth be told, it's no easy task to forge a Ballon d'Or winner.
"Thankfully, Neymar has improved a lot since he's gone to play in Europe - his game is a lot more mature. Now it's a matter of time until he reaches first place."
Neymar may have surpassed Ronaldo
Neymar, 23, was world football’s most exciting talent during his time at Santos but has become one of the planet’s top players since arriving at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2013.
It could even be argued that Neymar, who scored 39 goals in 51 appearances for Barcelona last season, has surpassed Ronaldo to become the world’s second best player behind Messi.
The Brazilian is unlikely to win the Ballon d’Or later this month - Messi is the overwhelming favourite to win the award for a record-breaking fifth time - but it would come as no shock if Neymar wins the gong in either 2017 or 2018.
Will Neymar become the first player other than Ronaldo or Messi to win the Ballon d’Or since Kaka? Let us know by leaving a comment below.
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