Ronaldinho says Neymar's success at Barcelona is down to Lionel Messi

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Barcelona's front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez pose one of the deadliest strike forces the sport has ever seen.

But before the Brazilian third of the trio moved to Spain in 2013 there were doubts over how he would cope with the transition to a European style of play.

There were few who questioned Neymar's ability but even some of the most talented youngsters can struggle to fulfil their potential at such a huge club.

That was also the challenge facing Ronaldinho when he swapped Paris for Barcelona in 2003 and the latest Brazilian protege has already gone some way to filling the boots of the now 36-year-old.

Neymar has already won the Champions League and La Liga twice with his current club, racking up 85 goals from 141 appearances in the process.

However, Ronaldinho believes Messi has played a key role in the 24-year-old's development and rise to join the world's elite.

He told Goal: “I believe the attention and dedication that I had for Messi, he is doing the same for Neymar.”

“It is very important for an experienced player to show the way and share the journey with a young player and Messi is doing that. This is why Neymar is adapting and playing very well at Barcelona."

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Milan star took Messi under his wing when the Argentine first broke through over a decade ago and even referred to him as his 'little brother'.

And his influence on Messi is clear to see, as both are known to glide past defenders with consummate ease and make even the most experienced opponents look foolish with their various skills and tricks.

When discussing who the best player in the world is currently, Ronaldinho has remained loyal to his former Barcelona teammate despite his continued bad luck in major finals at an international level.

Messi lost another Copa America final last month and surprisingly announced his retirement from international duty after the game.

Ronaldinho added: “For me, this does not change anything.”

Luis Enrique's side are aiming for their third consecutive La Liga title in the upcoming campaign, however, all eyes will also be on their European challenge after they disappointedly crashed out at the quarter-final stage to Atletico Madrid last time out.

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La Liga
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