Alexis: Neymar is more than just Messi in disguise

The Barcelona winger praised the Brazil striker as the two combined to overcome Valladolid on Saturday, but stressed the team are looking forward to the Argentine's return
Alexis Sanchez has hailed Neymar's performance against Valladolid for Barcelona, insisting the Brazilian is "not just Messi in disguise."

The Chile forward combined to devastating effect with Neymar during the 4-1 rout on Saturday, with the attacking duo directly involved in all four goals following Javi Guerra's early opener.

Speaking after the game, Sanchez was thrilled with his partnership with the former Santos star in the absence of attacking sensation Lionel Messi, but the ex-Udinese man believes Neymar must be recognised as more than just a replacement for the Argentine.

"Neymar was disguised as Neymar, not Messi," the 24-year-old told Gol TV.

"It gives us more work when Messi is not there because it's easier with him on the pitch."
Neymar has managed just two goals in La Liga since his sumemr arrival from Santos, leading to some question his €57 million pricetag, but Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta has shrugged off the Brazilian's doubters.

"Neymar is growing and is one of those players who invent things," he said.

"He always has something more to offer. His entry into the team has been managed well."

Zubizarreta also highlighted the performance of another Blaugrana youngster, Marc Bartra, who continued his recent run in the first team against Juan Ignacio Martinez's side.

"He's been very settled," the former goalkeeper added.

"These type of games are sometimes more difficult than even the Champions League."

The win keeps Barcelona top of La Liga, with a maximum 24 points from eight games.