Barcelona could suffer from Neymar signing, says De Boer

Former Blaugrana star Frank de Boer has his doubts whether the Brazilian and Lionel Messi will gel, though Jordi Cruyff and Roy Makaay disagree
Barcelona icon Frank de Boer is unsure whether Lionel Messi and Neymar can play in tandem and believes the Liga side could suffer from the clash of egos.

Following the €57 million signing of the Brazilian forward from Santos this summer, many players, pundits and fans have weighed in on whether the South American duo can play alongside each other to wildly differing responses.

De Boer, the current Ajax boss, is of the opinion that Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola did not speak in complete honesty when he said the pair will definiely gel and says that having a number of star players can often cause detrimental friction.

"Of course I understand why Pep doesn't say that Messi and Neymar can't play together," De Boer told Voetbal International. "He want to keep the relationship wih Barcelona good. And of course he hopes that it will work out.

"But in the past, with Samuel Eto'o or Zlatan Ibrahimovic near Messi, Pep himself found out that two leaders doesn't always work. Just like he said to me that two is too much. I understand the doubts.

"It's great to have two players who can score goals. But to put it in the right words: it does not happens often that two star players perfectly work together.

"I'm too far away from the situation to judge about the characteristics of Messi and Neymar. But there will be a moment that one star player thinks he's more important then the other."

Jordi Cruyff, son of Barca legend Johan and a former Camp Nou player himself, however, believes the two will work well together.

"In the history of Barcelona it often worked fine with two stars in one team," he said. "In the early '80s there were Diego Maradona and Bernd Schuster together, and Romario and Hristo Stoichkov played together. Those guys did a great job up front.

"When there is respect and there are clear rules, I don't see a problem to line up two big names. It will be clear that Messi is and will stay the star player. Neymar will accept that. Messi understands that the arrival from Neymar at Barcelona is a good thing. Messi and Neymar will play every match, as long as it's clear who's the No.1 and who's the No.2 [in the pecking order]."

Former Bayern star Roy Makaay is another ex-pro who sees the signing of Neymar as a major positive to the Catalans and pointed at the star figures already in the squad as evidence that it can work.

He said: "With Xavi and Andres Iniesta on the midfield you've got another two leaders who decide the tempo of Barcelona. Messi is the only true star and he will stay that.

"But I can't imagine why he and Neymar can't play together. Neymar will play from the left and Messi will stay where he is [in the middle]. I'm convinced it will work out. As attackers it's important to have the right chemistry. Barcelona will train on that in the lead-up to the season."