Barcelona news

Alves: Neymar can match Messi

June 5, 2013
By ESPN staff

Barcelona defender Dani Alves believes new team-mate Neymar will push Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or in the coming years.

Neymar and Messi
GettyImagesNeymar and Lionel Messi could prove a lethal force if combined in Barcelona's attack

Neymar completed his switch to the Camp Nou this week, moving from Brazilian side Santos for a reported €57 million.

Alves insists the 21-year-old has what it takes to succeed at the La Liga champions, and may outshine his high-profile team-mates.

"To be the best, first one must have humility, and I know that Neymar does have that," Alves explained.

"I'm sure in the future it will be very difficult to choose between Neymar and Messi for the Ballon d'Or.

"He knows how much work needs to be done before he can win as many awards as Leo has done."

After recent disappointing performances for Brazil, Neymar has come in for criticism. However, compatriot Alves has urged patience with the forward ahead of next year's World Cup in their homeland.

"I think today it is unfair to put all the responsibility on Neymar, who is just 21 years of age," he added. "This pressure should be distributed to everyone."