Messi is best but Neymar is the future, says Ivan Rakitic | football | Hindustan Times
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Messi is best but Neymar is the future, says Ivan Rakitic

football Updated: Oct 31, 2016 10:31 IST
Sean Sequeira
Sean Sequeira
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

The way Lionel Messi (R) and Neymar combine for Barcelona is a treat to watch and is a reflection of the hard work put in by both the star players, during matches as well as on the training pitch. (AFP)

Lionel Messi is the best player in the world at the moment but Neymar will succeed him as the next top talent, feels FC Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Speaking ahead of the FC Barcelona versus Granada match, Rakitic expressed how the professionalism of both players, and fellow forward Luis Suarez, has made the South American trio the best in the world.

But who is the better player, Messi or Neymar? “They are really different. But if we have to speak about now, it is, of course, Messi,” answered Rakitic.

Read more | Johan Cruyff’s legacy lives on through La Masia, Barcelona’s youth academy

He added that Neymar will be the next best because he has achieved a lot at an early age and will achieve much more.

“For sure Neymar is on his way to become the next best football player in the world. He is really young and has a lot of years to play so we will definitely enjoy a lot with both players in the next few years,” the Croatian midfielder said.

The match against Granada on Saturday was decided by a single goal scored by Rafinha, but Messi and Neymar played crucial roles in the link up to the goal-scoring chance.

Read more | Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick extends Real Madrid’s La Liga lead

Messi and Suarez had a quick exchange of passes to get the ball into the box after which Rafinha laid off for Neymar. Unfortunately, the Brazilian striker struck the base of the post but was tucked in by Rafinha with a spectacular bicycle kick.

Three to tango

The interchange of passes between Messi, Suarez and Neymar is a treat to watch but it is the attitude of the players when not in possession of the ball which is truly marvellous.

The youngest of the trio comes alive when the ball is near him but has a style and swagger even when not involved in active play. Against Granada, Neymar strolled confidently on the left wing, looking for spaces behind the defenders, biding his time before making an off-the-ball run.

Rakitic spoke highly of the trio and their work ethic.

“Just to be with them in the dressing room is to learn a lot. Nobody comes to the club and automatically gets a present saying you are the best. They work hard for it. They do it in every game and in every training session,” said Rakitic.

Skipper missed

The match against Granada was not the most fluid performance from FC Barcelona. While manager Luis Enrique — speaking to reporters in the post match press conference — denied it was down to the absence of the injured Andres Iniesta, Rakitic predicted before the match that the team would have a tough time without their captain and leader.

“Of course, we need him but sometimes football is like this; there are injuries. Players like Iniesta, they are one of a kind. It is not easy to have another player on the same level,” Rakitic said when asked how much Barcelona would miss Iniesta.

(The writer’s trip is sponsored by Sony Six.)