Pique: Neymar's presence will help Messi

The 26-year-old Blaugrana defender believes that the newly signed Brazil starlet will ease the responsibility felt by the Argentine talisman in the season to come
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique says that new signing Neymar can help share some of the goalscoring burden felt by Lionel Messi.

The Argentina star scored 46 goals in La Liga last season, 10 more than Cesc Fabregas, David Villa, Alexis Sanchez and Cristian Tello put together.

Pique believes that Neymar can help shift some of the weight of expectation placed on Messi as the young forward will give defences more problems with which to deal.

"The presence of Neymar will help Leo," Pique told Mundo Deportivo. "Messi often has a crowd of opponents around him but, with Neymar on the pitch too, at least two of those opposition players will have to be aware of him.

"We then also have players like [Andres] Iniesta, Xavi, Cesc and Pedro as well."

The 26-year-old Spaniard also discussed rumours linking Barcelona with a number of the world's best centre-backs, saying that, although he admires some of the names linked with the league champions, he is purely focusing on his own game.

"Most of the players that are being linked have experience in the top flight. Thiago Silva, [Mats] Hummels, [Vincent] Kompany, they are all very good players and are at great clubs," he continued.

"Deciding who to sign is not my decision though. I have to devote my time and thoughts to training and playing."

Reflecting on the Blaugrana's campaign, Pique feels that it was excellent, especially given coach Tito Vilanova's battle with illness.

"I think the team deserves a very good rating," he added. "We won the league, we matched the record for points and we have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League and the Copa del Rey.

"All that despite Tito's disease and injuries to key players. It's frustrating how we lost the tie against Bayern [Munich] but in summary I think the season has been remarkable."