“It’s difficult to compete with them” – When Neymar revealed why it would be difficult to reach levels of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

“It’s difficult to compete with them” – When Neymar revealed why it would be difficult to reach levels of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo

 

Neymar, Messi and Ronaldo (Image via Getty)

There was a time when Neymar Jr was considered the next big thing in world football after Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. The narratives may have changed now but the Brazilian superstar once claimed that he could never reach the levels of the legendary duo.

Speaking to Brazilian newspaper Globo Esporte in 2014, he said that Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are better than any other players. He asserted that he’d love to reach their level one day.

“Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are better than any player today. It’s difficult to compete with them. I don’t know if I’ll reach their level, but I hope to better myself each day. I always want to be better than I am,” Neymar said.

Neymar was still playing alongside Messi at Barcelona in 2014. In another interview from that time with Spanish news outlet AS, the former Santos star had hoped that 2015 would turn out to be a better year for him than 2014. He also mentioned that Real Madrid is a contender in every competition they play in, saying:

“It would be a dream if 2015 was like 2014 or even better. It is possible to do it because Madrid is always a candidate to win the competitions it is playing in. We have a team spirit that can help us win the most titles possible and we will fight to the death to get them.”

Neymar’s wishes came true as the Brazil star went on to win the treble with Barcelona in the 2014-15 season under the leadership of Luis Enrique. This includes the UEFA Champions League, La Liga, and Copa Del Rey. He has not won the Champions League since then.

When Neymar chose between Lionel Messi’s left foot and Cristiano Ronaldo’s right foot

FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC - La Liga (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC – La Liga (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
In a 2016 interview with MARCA, Neymar Jr was once asked to choose between Lionel Messi’s left leg and Cristiano Ronaldo’s right leg. While Messi’s preferred foot is the left foot, Cristiano Ronaldo has always found his strength in the right foot.

The Brazilian didn’t hesitate before choosing his longtime friend and former teammate Lionel Messi’s left foot. He jokingly added that his right foot could be a good companion to Leo’s left.

“I’d take Messi’s left foot, with all due respect to Cristiano, because my right foot is pretty handy too,” he said.

He was also asked to choose between the legendary Pele and Lionel Messi, both of whom the Brazilian considered his idols. He said it was a difficult choice for him but tilted towards Messi as he had seen him play.

“Unfortunately I never saw Pelé play. What I know of him is through my grandfather, my dad’s dad, who used to talk to me and tell me about how he played. It’s a difficult question for me, because I’ve seen Messi play and have had the chance to play alongside him. They’re both geniuses, though,” he said.

Neymar and Messi played together in Barcelona between 2013 and 2017 and at Paris Saint-Germain between 2021 and 2023. They have shared the pitch 206 times over the two clubs and have 67 goals together.

 

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