Leandro Damiao puts friendship with Neymar on hold ahead of Copa Libertadores clash

The 22-year-old striker is close to his Brazil team-mate but he insists that both men will be solely focused on helping their team qualify for the knockout stages
Internacional forward Leandro Damiao has admitted that his friendship with Santos starlet Neymar will be put to one side for their duration of their respective side's crunch Copa Libertadores clash in Porto Alegre on Wednesday.

The hosts currently sit second in Group 1 on seven points, two points behind their Brazilian rivals.

However, with Internacional separated from third-placed The Strongest on goal difference alone, both teams' qualification hopes remain very much in the balance with the Bolivians set to face whipping boys Juan Aurich in the final round.

As a result, Damiao insists that there will be no time for pleasantries when he lines out against his Selecao team-mate at the Beira-Rio.

"We always just play, regardless of which team it is against," the Brazil international explained in an interview with Globoesporte.

"Friendship off the field is normal, but this does not mean that we do not want to put everything into the game. We cannot be friends during the game.

"We are in need of a victory [to qualify] and we have to get it."

Neymar bagged a wonderful hat-trick when the two sides met earlier in the group stages, as Santos recorded a thoroughly deserved 3-1 victory.
It was claimed that the 20-year-old striker was less than impressed with Internactional's allegedly aggressive approach to the game but Neymar insists that this was not the case.

"We had no problem with Inter at Vila Belmiro," he argued. "Of course there were fouls, but that is normal in a football match."

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