Brazil technical director Carlos Alberto Parreira believes Neymar ranks alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of world football's biggest stars.
The 22-year-old Barcelona star had been singled out for criticism during the team’s indifferent form under previous coach Mano Menezes, but he has been fantastic since Luiz Felipe Scolari’s appointment and now has 30 goals in just 47 appearances for his country.
Parreira says he always had faith that the former Santos man would star for the Selecao.
“We always had the confidence that Neymar was a golden boy,” he told Zero Hora. “We gave him a lot of support. He arrived at the Confederations Cup and blossomed…He is so talented, that player who makes the difference.
“He is our big name, not only ours, but throughout world football, right next to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.”
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Parreira, who has led five different national teams into World Cup campaigns, claimed the title as Brazil boss in 1994, while Scolari took the crown in 2002, and ‘Mr Copa’ believes their experience has been vital to a change in fortunes that has seen the Selecao win 13 of its last 14 games.
“The credibility of the coaching staff has a great influence on both the fans and players,” he said. “Our history helps us communicate better and to have an understanding, which is advantageous to the players. The previous coaching staff was good, no doubt, but it was still very inexperienced in terms of international football.
“The response of the athletes was great… and now we have the team that can win the World Cup.”