'Only Neymar can get close to Messi or Ronaldo' – Brazil's Josue backs PSG ace to shine at World Cup 2018

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The former Brazil midfielder has said that his countrymen need to be "positive" about the attacker's return to fitness

Former Brazil and Wolfsburg midfielder Josue has backed Neymar to return in time for the World Cup and turn in a starring performance.

The midfielder believes that the Paris Saint-Germain star is the only player in the world capable of out-matching Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, which makes him invaluable to Brazil’s challenge for a sixth global title.

Despite a broken foot, from which he is still on the road to recovery after sustaining it against Marseille in February, he has been tipped to be central to his country’s challenge.

"Neymar is a reference when you talk about the Brazil team, we put a lot of confidence in him," the former Wolfsburg man told Goal. "I’ll put all my chips on him – no one else can come as close to Messi and Ronaldo.

"His injury wasn’t far from being a serious one. Everyone’s concerned about how he’ll be when he returns. But we have to be positive."

Meanwhile, he is bullish about his country’s hopes overall.

"I think Brazil, Germany and Spain are favourites,” he said, “but I’ll bet on Brazil winning the World Cup.

"It’s been a while since we’ve been favourites. The national team now has the confidence of the players and the fans with some great performances. It’s a quick and young team."

Josue also reflected on former team-mate Edin Dzeko, who he teamed up with to win the 2008-09 Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg.

"He’s a forward who can make a difference,” he said of the Bosnia and Roma man. “He can finish very well and I have a special fondness for him – I still cheer for him after playing with him for two years.

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He is not, however, optimistic of the striker’s chances of turning around a 5-2 Champions League semi-final deficit against Liverpool.

"It’ll be tough for Roma to come back against Liverpool – more difficult than it was against Barcelona – but football is an unbelievable universe," he said.

"I don’t think it’ll happen again, particularly because Liverpool will have seen what Roma did against Barca and will take precautions."

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