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Neymar can take Messi’s place in a few years, says Edmilson

11:56 GMT+3 03/08/2019
Lionel Messi Neymar Barcelona
The World Cup-winning Brazilian feels his countryman has what it takes to take over from one of football's greats

Edmilson believes Neymar can replace Lionel Messi as the undisputed star at Barcelona - if the Brazilian focuses on his game. 

Having spent time at Lyon and Barcelona during his playing days, the former Brazil international won a host of honours for both club and country and believes his compatriot can replace the Argentine when he hangs up his boots. 

Speaking exclusively to Goal, 43-year-old Edmilson shared his thoughts on the world’s most expensive player. 

“Barca will be thinking about Messi’s retirement. He still has a few years left in him, but in three, four or five years, I think Neymar could very well take the place of Messi," he said.

“Neymar is a great player, but he has to have a good mindset to play his football.

“He has had two average seasons combined with injuries and did not have a great World Cup. 

“PSG did win the league but ultimately these are not Neymar's best years.”

Neymar has been heavily linked with a return to his old club, but the 2002 World Cup-winner believes the forward has to knuckle down if he is to secure a move back to Camp Nou. 

After the recent summer signing of Antoine Griezmann, competition for places is strong at the Catalan giants and Edmilson insists Neymar has to be focused on his game. 

“Barca have a host of great players and they will have to decide who plays if they want to bring him back. They have brought in Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele is still there and so is Philippe Coutinho. 

“There are many attacking players in the middle as well such as Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Sergio Busquets. 

“He started well at PSG, he was fine. He was well surrounded with his dad. But after that, I do not know what happened...

"I think Neymar has a place everywhere. The fans are happy when he his playing well and scoring goals but the truth is that he is not always there.

“He remains a great player and we will need to see where he feels is best to continue to flourish because today Ney has lost a little bit of edge since Barca."