Santos' Muricy: Neymar is amongst the five best in the world

The trainer stated that his young forward is unlike any player he had ever worked with, and believes that if he continues to improve he can match Messi as the world's best
Santos coach Muricy Ramalho had high praise for Neymar after watching the youngster take apart Internacional almost single-handedly on Wednesday evening, and affirmed that he has never worked with anyone like the irrepressible young forward.

Neymar netted all three of Santos' goals in the key Copa Libertadores clash, as the Peixe secured a 3-1 win over their Brazilian rivals to keep hopes of retaining their 2012 title on track.

The two sides lie joint-second in Group 1, behind early pace-setters The Strongest who have a perfect six points.

Two of the 20-year-old's strikes were solo efforts that began almost in the Santos half, and speaking after the game Muricy admitted that he was blown away by the quality he saw from the Brazil international.

"He is a phenomenon. I have worked with some great players, played with some great players, but nobody like Neymar, nobody comes close. I played with people who could improvise, but he improvises on top of his improvisation, I don't think even he is aware everything he is doing," the coach beamed to reporters at the final whistle.

The former Internacional and Sao Paulo coach continued to state that while Barcelona star Lionel Messi was still ahead as the best in the world, he had faith that Neymar could reach the Argentine's level.

"I believe that [Messi's] level is still a bit more advanced, to call him the best. But he is amongst the five best, easily. You cannot say he only does this with bad teams, today he did it against one of the best in the country and it is never easy to do what he did today. You have to be extremely good."

Neymar was voted the South American Player of the Year in 2011, after helping Santos to their first Libertadores in 48 years.