Brazil coach Dunga has named FC Barcelona star Neymar as the best player in the world right now with Argentine Lionel Messi out injured and Ronaldo not playing on the same level as the Brazil captain, according to him.

Dunga reckons that the Brazil captain’s performances this season have been better than the injured FC Barcelona star Messi and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo, who’s going through a difficult patch.

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Neymar better than Ronaldo, Messi: Dunga

When asked to compare the 23-year-old with Messi and Ronaldo, Dunga was quoted by ESPN FC as saying: “If we look at the ranking by numbers and statistics, Neymar is superior right now.”

“Messi is injured, Cristiano is expected to repeat what he did last year.”

“Neymar has improved consistently since he arrived at Barcelona [in 2013],” Dunga added. “He has done all that was expected of him with Messi out. He’s in great form.”

Neymar return boost for Brazil, as Argentina rocked by forward injuries

Brazil play Argentina in Buenos Aires on Thursday and are at home to Peru on Nov. 18. The Brazil captain had missed the last two ties that saw Brazil lose 2-0 to Chile and beat Venezuela 3-1 at home.

Thursday’s fixture sees Argentina miss the front three of Messi, Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez who are all out injured.

Playing down the advantage, Dunga said: “They will have players out injured but it is still Argentina.”

“You lose a talented player but you get one that is maybe more focused, with more power and speed, and they can create problems. It’s Argentina, their players all play at the highest level in Europe.”

“We play Argentina at their home, they have great players, they were runners-up in the World Cup, they have 10 years’ worth of work there. That shows how difficult this will be. We didn’t have Neymar for our first matches and no one spoke about our rivals having an advantage over us. There is no favouritism. All of us have deep benches.”

Brazil are in fifth, while Argentina are in seventh place in the 10-team CONMEBOL FIFA World Cup Qualifying table, with the top four automatically booking a place for Russia 2018 and the fifth-placed side facing a playoff to reach the Finals.

Neymar’s form will be crucial if Brazil are to reach the finals, with their captain evolving into the biggest threat to Lionel Messi’s title of the world’s best player as Cristiano Ronaldo gets older and the 23 year old keeps improving.