Rio de Janeiro, April 23: Brazil great Rivaldo has said that his compatriot Neymar will not be voted the world’s best footballer if he remains at Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar, who completed a world record 222 million-euro move to the French club from FC Barcelona last August, has made no secret of his desire to be the world’s top-ranked player, reports Xinhua news agency.
But Rivaldo, who himself won the Ballon d’Or in 1999, believes the former Santos prodigy must move to Real Madrid to realise his dream.
“I believe that if he stays at PSG he will not become the best in the world,” Rivaldo was quoted as saying by Globo Esporte on Sunday.
“He has to leave PSG. For him to be the best in the world he has to play in Spain. If you’re going to analyse it, there’s England, Spain, Italy, Germany … It’s different (in those places). I’m talking about football, about competition,” the 2002 World Cup winner, who played for Barcelona from 1997 to 2002, added.
“It would be difficult for him to go back to Barcelona. But the information I have is that he has a chance to play for Real Madrid. If he goes there, then yes, I think he can be the best in the world.”
Neymar scored 28 goals and provided 16 assists for PSG in all competitions this season before suffering a fractured bone in his foot in February.
The 26-year-old is expected to resume training within a month but Rivaldo said Brazil must be prepared for the possibility that Neymar might not be fully fit for the World Cup in Russia, which begins on June 14.
“He’s injured now so who knows [about his fitness for the World Cup]?,” the former AC Milan attacking midfielder said.
“If he gets hurt again in the first training sessions, who’s going to step up? There cannot be that pressure on him alone. But he is decisive and has all the conditions to be Brazil’s biggest star in this World Cup.” IANS