Neymar says he is the BEST footballer in the world… but only because Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are ‘from another planet’
- Neymar says Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo remain above ‘all other’ players
- But the Brazilian readily names himself as the third-best behind the two rivals
- Neymar finished third in the Ballon d’Or 2017 standings but is struggling in 2018
The 26-year-old heads to the World Cup as one of football’s biggest names and is expected to contest for the Golden Boot as well as the title itself with his national team.
While he clearly believes he has the potential to inspire Brazil to an unprecedented sixth World Cup title, Neymar says he is still well behind Messi and Ronaldo, who themselves are looking for international glory in Russia this summer.
Neymar jokes in Brazil training as he prepares to lead them into the World Cup in Russia
Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo will both be under pressure to perform this summer
He told popular Brazilian YouTube channel Desimpedidos: ‘The two who are above all others today are Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.
‘For all modesty, today I am the best player in the world — because they are from another planet.’
As Neymar finished third in the Ballon d’Or 2017 voting, he can claim to be the third-best player behind Ronaldo, who won his fifth Golden Ball in that vote, and Messi, who finished well behind in second place.
Neymar stretches in Brazil training as he prepares for the World Cup in Sochi on Thursday
But the podium is likely to change in 2018 with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah currently among the favourites to win the Ballon d’Or when the winner is announced in December.
The Egyptian was sensational in his debut season at Anfield, setting a new goal-scoring record with 34 goals in the Premier League and firing them into the Champions League final, where they eventually lost to Ronaldo’s Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Neymar had a forgettable campaign with his new club PSG. Although he scored 19 goals and provided 13 assists in just 20 Ligue 1 games, an metatarsal injury brought his season to an end in March.
It has also been widely suggested that the lack of competition in France’s top flight would prevent Neymar from ever surmounting Ronaldo and Messi. That is unless he can inspire them to a first European title.
Cristiano Ronaldo shows off three of his five Ballon d’Or trophies, the same number as Messi
Author: Nancy Parker
Nancy Parker is a five time Emmy Award winning journalist and seven time Emmy nominee who has spent almost twenty five years covering news in South Louisiana. She has anchored every prime time newscast at WVUE FOX8 during her twenty year tenure in New Orleans.