Neymar has spoken of his respect toward Lionel Messi, detailing how the Barcelona star helped him find his footing with the Spanish giants.
Neymar formed a deadly partnership with Messi and Luis Suarez but the MSN trio was broken up when the Brazil star decided to join Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017 for a record €222 million fee.
The star man has since gone on to form another lethal trio with Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani in the French capital, but still holds a deep connection with the Barca talisman Messi.
In an interview with publication Globo Esporte, an emotional Neymar explained that when he needed help at Barcelona, it was Messi who provided it.
"It's a story I tell everyone. At the time when I needed the most support, the man on the team, the best in the world, came and gave me love. " Neymar said.
And when asked about the talk about a potential return to his old club, Neymar reiterated how much his friendship with Messi meant to him.
"It's difficult, it's difficult,” Neymar said. “To be honest, it is very difficult because Leo was a very special guy for me at Barcelona.”
Neymar moved to Barcelona from Santos as a 21-year-old and already had a great weight of expectations on him, as he was seen as having the potential to be one of the greatest the world had ever seen, while moving to the Liga giants for a hefty fee.
And Neymar explained how Messi told him to just be himself in order to be as content with his life as he was when he played in Brazil, emphasising that Neymar had the support of everyone.
Neymar added: "He talked to me and said: 'Come here, you must be yourself, you must be happy and the same as in Santos. Do not be shy, do not be afraid of me or anyone in this club. We are here to help you.’"
The Brazil star is currently recovering from a broken foot – the same injury which cost him much of the second half of last season.