Ronaldinho: Neymar will surpass Messi as world's best

2012-12-10 01:15:46 GMT2012-12-10 09:15:46(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Ronaldinho says his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi will one day be overtaken as the world's best player by Brazil starlet Neymar.

Ronaldinho said he expected Messi to win the Ballon d'Or for a record fourth consecutive time in January ahead of Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo but Neymar will be the best in the future.

"Cristiano has been making history for many years now, but Messi is the best in the world, and one day Neymar will be the best," Ronaldinho told ESPN.

At 20, Neymar has already scored 54 goals from 102 first-team appearances for Brazilian top-flight club Santos. He has also netted 17 times in 27 matches for Brazil's national team.

Ronaldinho paid tribute to Messi, who on Sunday became the highest goalscorer in a calendar year by surpassing German great Gerd Muller's record of 85 set in 1972.

"For me Messi is the best in the world," he added. "For the last few years he has played at a level of football we have never seen before.

"I'm very proud to speak of him, because I was there when he started off and now he is the best in the world, it makes me so happy.

"The game I remember the most is when he scored his first goal, because it came from my pass and I remember this game most vividly because he was just getting started.

"I had the chance to be there and live that moment. I'm very happy that his first professional goal came from a pass from me. Messi knows that there will always be a place in my heart for him."

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