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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Lionel Messi will help Neymar to become the world's best player - Mazinho

Barcelona's Lionel Messi will help Neymar to become the world's best player, according to former Brazil international Mazinho.

Neymar, 24, helped his country to win the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics but finished third behind teammate Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or in 2015.

But Mazinho, who won the 1994 World Cup with Brazil, insists that the winger is not far away from being considered the best around.

"Neymar will be the best in the world in the near future," he told Globo Esporte.

"Every great player helps another great player. Messi helps Neymar a lot and Neymar is already one of the best. Messi will help him become the best in the world."

Brazil have not won the World Cup since 2002 and Mazinho also insisted that Neymar would have a big part to play in Russia 2018 -- with the country sitting four points clear atop the CONMEBOL qualifying standings.

"He's the biggest talent we have in Brazilian football and the world of football," he said. "He will be a leader in the World Cup in Russia and hopefully we win the title."

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