Neymar can emulate Lionel Messi's individual success - but only at Barcelona

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Neymar's future at Barcelona has been subject to speculation over recent months with Manchester United's interest well known, but the Brazilian should stay put at the Camp Nou.

At just 23 years of age, the Brazilian finds himself on the three-man shortlist for this year's Ballon d'Or, which will be announced in Zurich on January 11, following his excellent season thus far in Lionel Messi's absense.

Far from the prime of his career, Neymar can rightly so be named up there with the very best in the world - but to leave Barcelona after two-and-a-half years would be a mistake, with Barcelona set to offer the Brazilian a bumper new contract to fend off United's interest.


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During Messi's time out, Neymar and Luis Suarez's contributions to Barcelona have been nothing short of sensational. It's easy to say that without these two, the Catalonians' position in the table would be vastly different.

Whilst Messi's career is far from coming to and end, Neymar could be the man to fill the void of the legend when that inevitable day comes.

The Brazil captain has scored 16 goals in 17 appearances this season, 14 of those coming in La Liga, scoring away to title challengers Atletico Madrid, four against Rayo Vallecano and once in Barca's crushing 4-0 El Clasico victory over Real Madrid.

It would be unfair not to recognise the part Suarez has played in Messi's absence given his 12 league goals this season, but it is Neymar who is the younger of the two and seems likely to follow in the footsteps of the club's greatest ever players.

Neymar has already made it clear he aims to emulate Messi's success by winning the Ballon d'Or - and Barcelona seems the best place for the Brazilian to fulfil that ambition.

The Catalans offer stability in consistently competing at the top of La Liga and in the latter stages of the Champions League. If that isn't enough for Neymar to win a Ballon d'Or, then he will find it hard to find a better club to fulfil such ambitions.

With Messi now back in the side, Neymar will only continue to learn over the coming weeks, months and years about how to better his own game - so why would a move to a United squad that lacks a similar level of quality be attractive for the 23-year-old?

The Brazilian netted 11 times in Messi's absence, meaning Barca could theoretically afford to rest the Argentine in some bigger games if deemed necessary, although he is inevitably going to be first choice.

It would be unfair to say United don't have a chance of signing Neymar given the Brazilian is understood to be interested in a move to England. However, the forward still has a lot to achieve with Barcelona as a club and as an individual.

Neymar knows he can write himself into history as one of Barcelona's best players - and perhaps even one of football's greatest ever. Therefore, a move to United, or anywhere else in Europe for that matter, appears illogical.

Should the Red Devils return to their title-winning ways, improve their form in Europe and prove they have a squad and manager capable of achieving continual success then yes, it could be argued Neymar will likely move at some time in the future.

But for now, Neymar is revelling in his partnership with Messi and Suarez, two of the world's greatest players, at arguably the best club in world football. Neymar is made for Barcelona - and Barcelona is made for Neymar.

La Liga
Lionel Messi

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