Neymar: Manchester City are still novices compared to Barcelona

The Brazilian, who hopes to be fully fit to face the Premier League side, believes the Catalan club's extra European experience will be key in their Champions League last 16 tie
By Thomas Unsworth

Barcelona superstar Neymar believes Manchester City still have a long way to go before they can claim to be a European superpower.

10/1 Manchester City and Barcelona are 10/1 with Betway to draw 2-2
City spent upwards of £100 million on new players in the summer in a bid to ensure they qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time following two early exits under Roberto Mancini.

If Manuel Pellegrini’s side are to progress further in the competition they will have to overcome a Barcelona side whose recent pedigree in Europe’s premier club competition is unrivalled.

City have won admirers this season for their attacking prowess, which has seen them score over 100 goals in all competitions, but their lack of European experience will be their downfall against Barcelona, according to Neymar.

He told Goal: “I have read the things about Manchester City beating Barcelona because of the amount of goals they are scoring in England - but I think the reality is that Manchester City are still a long way behind Barcelona.

“They do have very good players - but we have much more experience in the competition.

“We will respect them - but if we concentrate and play the way we know we can - then I think we will progress.”

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Neymar returned to full training last week and scored in Saturday's 6-0 drubbing of Rayo Vallecano having recovered from an ankle injury that has kept him out of action since early January, and he is hopeful of being fit enough to have a significant impact on the tie.

He added: “Of course I am desperate to be back for the games against Manchester City. This was why I chose to play for Barcelona - so I could be involved in important European nights like this.

“Every competition is important for us - but of course there is something very special about the Champions League - and it is my dream to win it this season.