Messi and Neymar criticism is unfair, says Rivaldo

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The Brazil legend has defended the forwards after his former boss Louis van Gaal accused the pair of not being team players

Criticism of Lionel Messi and Neymar for not being "team players" suggests former Barcelona coach Louis van Gaal does not like players that "detract from the coach", according to Rivaldo.

Van Gaal, who coached Rivaldo at Camp Nou, claimed Barca and Paris Saint-Germain had fallen short in the Champions League because Messi and Neymar had been playing for themselves.

The ex-Manchester United manager advised the star duo to be more like Liverpool midfielder James Milner, a European champion in 2018-19, in order to return their clubs to winning ways.

But Rivaldo appears to believe Van Gaal simply does not like outstanding individual talents, as he responded in an Instagram post, including an image of Messi, Neymar and the Dutchman.

"Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo are difference-making players and neither the team nor the coach knows how they do those otherworldly things," the World Cup winner wrote.

"But there are many coaches who do not like these players because they detract from the coach himself, so they prefer to talk about these players as if they do not know how to play as a team and they are good only individually.

"I played football for more than 24 years and I know very well that many coaches were very average when they played and others were not players.

"Today, as coaches, they want their team to play as a team for them to have the merit of a great coach.

"If you have a player like Pele, Johan Cruyff, Rivellino, Garrincha, Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo Fenomeno, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Zidane, Romario, Kaka, Maradona, Zico, Mbappe, Figo, Stoichkov, Hagi, etc, it is easier.

"But it does not mean you are going to be champions. If you also have a team that does not play well tactically, it can mean that you are not going to be a champion.

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"I prefer difference-making players because football is joy and everyone likes something different. The team is always important, but you need to have different players who can do something more on the pitch."

Rivaldo is clearly a fan of Neymar, and is keen to see him return to Barcelona to link up with Messi again. 

Rumours around a potential revival of the famous 'MSN' lineup featuring Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez have been circulating throughout the summer in response to the major transfer spree embarked upon by Real Madrid.

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