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Dublin: 3 °C Wednesday 11 December, 2019

'While Messi and Cristiano are in form, he will have to settle for third place'

Roberto Carlos has suggested Neymar is still a long way off a Ballon d’Or success.

Neymar (file pic).
Neymar (file pic).

NEYMAR HAS TO “settle for third place” when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are on form, says Roberto Carlos, but the right decision was made to leave Barcelona.

A record-breaking €222 million deal took the Brazil international from Catalunya to the French capital in the summer of 2017.

It was suggested on his way out of Camp Nou that the 26-year-old needed to escape the shadow of star turns in Spain in order to shine in his own right.

That opinion has been echoed by Roberto Carlos, with the iconic Brazilian conceding that a change of scenery was required in order to reach the very top of the game.

He told France Football: “I think that he did well to sign for PSG.

To be the best in the world, he had to leave Barca because of Messi. He has to be conscious that while Messi and Cristiano are in form, he will have to settle for third place.”

Neymar has impressed during his debut campaign with PSG, netting 28 times in 30 appearances, but is currently sidelined with a broken metatarsal.

That injury has forced him to undergo surgery, but Roberto Carlos feels a spell on the treatment table could prove beneficial.

He added, with the countdown on to the 2018 World Cup: “His injury is something that we have to accept.

“In Brazil, we are religious and we believe that this type of accident doesn’t happen by chance.

I think that now Neymar will focus more on his work and he will look after himself better.”

Brazil will be hoping that proves to be the case as they prepare to head for Russia.

The Selecao are considered to be among the favourites to taste global glory this summer, with their star turn set to be ably assisted by a number of other attacking talents.

Among those is Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus, with the 20-year-old having made a big impression for club and country in recent times.

Roberto Carlos added on a hard-working performer: “Our reference is Neymar, Gabriel Jesus will be who helps Neymar.

“He will play for Neymar, ahead of him and sometimes behind. I know that he will serve the star of the team. He is smart and very good.

“Gabriel Jesús will be for Neymar what Benzema is for Cristiano Ronaldo at Real Madrid. He has the same focus as Karim.”

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