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Neymar: Messi deserves Ballon d’Or
The Brazilian feels his Argentine colleague has to be recognized for inspiring Barcelona to a treble triumph
Neymar believes that Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi deserves to win this year’s Ballon d’Or.
Cristiano Ronaldo has won the last two awards and is coming off the back of a season in which he netted a personal-best 61 goals.
However, Messi netted 58 times in 57 appearances in all competitions as he inspired Barca to a historic treble, with the Catalans claiming La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.
Consequently, Neymar believes that there is only one possible winner of the Ballon d’Or for 2015.
“For all that he has done, Messi deserves it,” the Brazil international told Globo.
Neymar was spreaking after helping his country to a 2-1 win over Peru in their Cope America 2015 opener.
Christian Cueva shocked Dunga’s men by breaking the deadlock just three minutes into the game in Temuco, but the Selecao responded via a header from their captain two minutes later.
Neymar would then play a decisive role in the winner, laying on the defence-splitting assist for Douglas Costa in second-half injury time, and the Barcelona man maintained that clinching three points was all that mattered.
“This debut was difficult because of the game, the continental rivalry, and everything,” the forward stated. “But we got the win, which was our goal.”
The 23-year-old forward is the fifth-highest scorer in Brazil history with 44 goals for his country following Sunday’s strike, yet also missed a fine chance during the game.
“I want to continue reaching records with goals, passes, whatever it may be. It worked, and I almost scored my second goal. I messed up the kick but the next will come.”
Douglas, who appeared as a second-half substitute to score his first international goal, praised the work of Neymar in the build-up to the goal, which he thought arrived with impeccable timing.
“I managed to master the ball with an accurate pass from Neymar and complete the goal,” he told reporters. “The important thing is that the goal came when the team needed, with the game tied.”
The Selecao return to action on Wednesday, when they face Colombia in Santiago for a rematch of their 2014 World Cup quarter-final.
Ezekiel Azure Zion is a sports writer and a blogger who loves what he does.