Neymar backs Messi for Ballon d'Or

The Brazilian is enjoying playing alongside his esteemed team-mate and admits he is more than capable of being crowned the best player in the world yet again
Neymar has backed Lionel Messi to retain his status as the game's finest player by lifting the Ballon d'Or for a fifth time.

The Brazil forward joined Barcelona for €54 million earlier this summer and has spoken on a number of occasions of his admiration for his new team-mate.

And the 21-year-old needed little persuading to again emphasise the quality of the Argentine, while dismissing suggestions he has had to perform in a more restrained role since his big-money move.

He said to reporters: "Playing with Lionel Messi? He is on a different level. I admire him and respect him. He’s been the best player in the world on four consecutive occasions and he's got it all to win it again.

“I am still the same as always, I am not more restrained. Barca give me much freedom in attack, just as I have had in my previous club and with the national team."

Neymar scored his first goal for the Blaugrana in a 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup last month and he declared he couldn't be happier at Camp Nou.

“My goal is to play in the best competitions in the world and now I am doing that with Barca. Little by little I know how my team-mates play and they also learn how I do.

“My life in Barcelona is relaxed, I love how everything is going. I really like the city, the club and the people that I work with.

“Everything is here to make it perfect.”