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Ronaldo: Neymar to shine at World Cup

Ronaldo has told RMC he believes Neymar will be the smash hit of this summer's World Cup in Brazil and is confident his country will be ready in time.

• World Cup Daily
Barca: Neymar tax fee will be returned

Though busy helping prepare for the tournament as part of the local organising committee, Ronaldo, 37, has kept a close eye on his young compatriot, 22, since he joined the striker's former club Barcelona last summer.

Neymar has made a bright start to his career in Spain and will be a household name if he helps the host nation progress to the World Cup final in July, according to Ronaldo.

Ronaldo: Last seen looking a tad portly
Ronaldo and Neymar playing together in a friendly

"He's already shown his qualities in Brazil. Now, at Barcelona, he's a little like the deputy of Messi, but I think he has great worth and is our big hope," he said.

"The Brazilian team is good, and Neymar is a key player. If Brazil go through to the final with Neymar, he can be the star of the World Cup."

Before the football takes centre stage when the tournament kicks off in June, the focus will be on the organisation, with delays in infrastructure and stadium construction projects badly damaging the South American nation's reputation.

"I am absolutely convinced it will be the best World Cup of all time," Ronaldo countered. "I'm rather optimistic. Especially as it's my country. And also because it's a very important event, and that everything is being put in place for it to go well."

The two-time World Cup winner sees an equally bright future for his former Real Madrid team-mate Zinedine Zidane. The former France international, 41, became assistant coach to Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti last summer, and Ronaldo predicts Zidane will soon strike out on his own.

"He's not going to stay number two very long. With all the experience he's accumulated in football, he can be a coach at any club as of now," the former Brazil striker said, adding he felt Zidane could succeed former Les Bleus colleague Didier Deschamps at the head of the France national team.

"I think that could be the case. As you know the cycle of a coach often ends after a World Cup. We're going to see how things go with Didier Deschamps. Depending on what happens at the World Cup, France could have a great opportunity to have Zidane as coach."

He added: "He's built up great experience by working with the best coaches in the world. By working alongside Carlo Ancelotti, he's getting the best training possible and he'll be very quickly operational in the dug-out."



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