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 Posted by Dermot Corrigan
May 26, 2014

Neymar backs Lionel Messi to succeed

Former Argentina midfielder Santiago Solari expects Lionel Messi to be the best player at the World Cup despite a disappointing season.

Neymar says Lionel Messi is a "solution" for Barcelona "not a problem."

Season Review: Barcelona

Long-time Barca talisman Messi had a strange end to the club season, signing a new improved long-term contract at the Camp Nou club, but also suggesting he could move on should his contribution not be fully appreciated by everyone in the Blaugrana family.

His younger teammate told Esporte Espetacular that he could not accept that anyone was doubting what Messi could do on the pitch.

"Everyone can have their own opinion," Neymar said. "But he is the best player I have ever seen. I have never known a player with this gift for playing football like this. I will always defend Messi tooth and nail. I believe he was not a problem for us, but a solution."

Argentina captain Messi is now with his national team preparing for the upcoming World Cup. Speaking from that camp Barca utility man Javier Mascherano told La Nacion that the 2013/14 club season might have been disappointing for the four time Ballon D'Or winner, but he was in a positive mood now.

"I do not see Leo subdued, not at all," Mascherano said. "On a personal level he is living one of the best moments of his life. Sometimes things go for you, sometimes not. The group did not have the level of previous seasons. You do not need to look any more into it. He needs a team who can support him so that he can shine."

The former Liverpool player said that Argentina had an attacking identity with Messi alongside Gonzalo Higuain and Sergio Aguero in attack but Albiceleste coach Alejandro Sabella was still looking for the defensive balanced required.

"A team always has an identity, but this identity has to fit with the opponent you are going to face," Mascherano said. "Football is like that. To die with your idea. We play with three natural number nines. They are not wingers. They have a spectacular offensive power, but also in many moments the team is anarchic. The coach will know how to look for balance."

Neymar said he has spoken with Messi about the upcoming World Cup.

"Yeah, we talk about it. I tell him, 'I wish you all the luck in getting to the final, but you are going to lose.' He laughs," Neymar said.

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