Neymar Jr. has claimed that his FC Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi already has done enough to win the Balon d’Or ahead of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo and himself.
The Brazilian, along with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi struck up a stunning partnership as the South American trio fired FC Barcelona to a second treble in six years becoming the most prolific attacking trident in Spanish football history.
Real Madrid and Cristiano Ronaldo faded away towards the second half of the season. Yet, Ronaldo did manage to win the Pichichi award for the top goalscorer in the La Liga.
Cristiano Ronaldo has won the last two Balon d’Or awards and is coming off the back of a season in which he netted a personal-best 61 goals.
Despite that, Neymar believes Lionel Messi deserves the Balon d’Or for his 58 goals and numerous assists paving the way for FC Barcelona treble.
Neymar said: “This year, the award for the best player in the world already has an owner,” he said after his country’s 2-1 win against Peru in Copa America, in which he set up the winner in injury time.
“For all that he did, Messi deserves the Ballon d’Or.”
Neymar himself has had a fantastic season with FC Barcelona, topping the goalscoring charts of the UEFA Champions League ahead of the Real Madrid and FC Barcelona duo.
He once again reiterated the claims to a future Balon d’Or winner by scoring one and setting up the injury time Douglas Costa winner as Brazil won 2-1 against Peru in the opening Copa America game.
Neymar was quoted saying after the win: “This is a very tough competition. We got the win and that’s important.”
Neymar has now reached 44 international goals at the age of 23, a year earlier than Brazilian legend Pele.
“I want to keep on reaching records, with goals, assists and everything that can help the team to win,” Neymar said.”
If Neymar carries Brazil to the Copa America win, it will be quite an interesting race to the title of the world’s best player in 2015.
The way Neymar is making progress, Real Madrid talisman Cristiano Ronaldo, as well as his FC Barcelona team mate Lionel Messi will have quite a competition to their monopoly on the Balon d’Or.