The Santos forward was full of praise for the Barcelona attacker following Argentina's friendly win over Brazil, but believes his side gave a good account of themselves
The Barcelona forward inspired the Albiceleste to a 4-3 victory against their arch-rivals, scoring two goals in the first half before deciding an end-to-end contest with a late strike to complete a hat-trick.
Neymar, who picked up two assists in the match, has often earned comparisons with Messi, but he admitted that the Argentine is at a higher level currently.
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"It is very simple: Messi is the best in the world, and if you give him a little bit of space, he can do whatever he wants," Neymar told reporters.
"But this match was not a walk in the park, like many had predicted.
"We could have won the match, we had chances to score. We played well and we showed that we are on the right track."
The game marked the second time that Neymar has lost out to Messi in direct confrontation this season, after Barcelona thrashed Santos 4-0 in the Club World Cup final in December.