Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar has revealed the extent of the impact that former Barcelona colleague Lionel Messi has had on his career, admitting that the five-time Ballon d'Or winner is his 'idol in football' and he is 'still learning' from him.
Neymar was rumoured to have left Barcelona in controversial circumstances in 2017 in order to escape Messi's shadow, before growing speculation has emerged in the last few weeks that he is ready to return to Camp Nou and link up with the Argentine icon once more.
"Facing Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo - and I played with Messi, who is, for me, one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he is my idol in football," the PSG No. 10 explained.
"With Messi, I learned every day, whether during our practice, or playing with him, or just watching him play. And that made me stronger and it increased my capacity on the field because I kept learning a lot from him.
"As for Cristiano Ronaldo, he is a monster. Facing him is a pleasure and an honor, but we have to be more prepared. He is one of the greatest in football so you get smarter, you get alert, but at the same time you learn a lot, too.
"So, they are two of the big guys that I can relate to, because I want to learn, I want more, I want to win, I want more trophies, score more goals…so I keep learning from them every day."
Just this week, The Independent has described Messi as a 'prime mover' in Barcelona's alleged attempt to re-sign Neymar just 18 months after losing him to PSG in a world record deal. It is said that Neymar is disappointed the way things have turned out and misses his life in Spain.
Messi apparently holds no ill feeling towards the Brazilian despite the acrimonious nature of his sudden departure and is even said to have discussed with Camp Nou officials the benefits of taking him back from the French champions.