To celebrate the launch of Neymar Jr’s new signature football tournament, Neymar Jr’s Five, we asked the Brazil captain to pick the four current players he would want alongside him in a five-man team.
Neymar Jr himself is currently in the form of his life. Still only 23, he helped Barcelona to a treble last season and is on the shortlist for the FIFA Ballon d’Or, and the way he raised his game when Messi was absent with injury this season drew universal praise.
Learn all about Neymar Jr’s Five here and watch the teaser clip below.
So which players would Neymar Jr choose to play alongside him if he was limited to a five-a-side team? Read on to discover the awesome foursome he would pick to join him.
1. Lionel Messi
Career highlights: Four-time Ballon D'Or winner; four-time Champions League winner; has led Barcelona to seven league titles; Olympic gold medallist in 2008.
He’s the best player in the world
Lionel Messi is the best player of his generation, and quite possibly of any other, so his selection by Neymar Jr is obvious.
Neymar Jr on Messi: “Right from the start, Messi helped me a lot at Barcelona, both on and off the field. We have a great relationship and I want to continue playing and getting better alongside him. He’s the best player in the world.”
2. Luis Suárez
Career highlights: World Cup semi-finalist with Uruguay in South Africa in 2010; Copa América winner in 2011; treble-winner with Barcelona in first season.
Luis is a great player and should’ve been on the podium for the Ballon d’Or
Luis Suárez has wasted no time in demonstrating that Barcelona made a very wise move in paying €80m to sign him from Liverpool. The good news for Barça fans is that his form keeps on improving, and he was unstoppable as he scored twice in the 4-0 defeat of Real Madrid at the Bernabéu in November 2015.
Neymar Jr on Suárez: “Luis is a great player and should’ve been on the podium for the Ballon d’Or as well. With Luis and Leo [Messi], the secret is that we enjoy playing together and we try to play well and have fun at the same time.”
3. Thiago Silva
Club: Paris St-Germain
Career highlights: Serie A title with AC Milan; three Ligue 1 titles with PSG; Confederations Cup-winner with Brazil in 2013.
Thiago Silva is one of the toughest defenders I’ve ever had to play against
Playing the famous Messi-Suárez-Neymar Jr trio up front is pretty much a guarantee of goals, so Neymar Jr’s remaining two slots go to a couple of extremely versatile defenders. The first is Thiago Silva, who made his name as a commanding centre-back with an unmatched ability to read the game over three seasons at AC Milan before moving to Paris St-Germain.
Neymar Jr on Silva: “Thiago Silva is one of the toughest defenders I’ve ever had to play against and someone I’ve always admired. He’s also a great man and a great captain.”
4. Dani Alves
Career highlights: Won the UEFA Cup with Sevilla in 2006 and 2007; won the 2007 Copa América with Brazil, scoring in the final; five league titles and three Champions League successes with Barcelona since 2008.
Dani is one of my best friends in football
Dani Alves is much more than just a defensive guarantee for Barcelona – he’s also a huge attacking threat thanks to those devastating runs and crosses from the right. Alves almost quit Barcelona at the end of last season, but a last-minute decision to stay on and sign a new contract means one of football’s great club partnerships continues. Alves and Neymar Jr together lit up Instagram by posting a video of themselves singing Nicky Jam’s Spanish chart hit El Perdón in the dressing room after their cup final win over Villarreal last season. So not only would this Neymar Jr’s Five team be just about impossible to beat, they’d have plenty of fun celebrating.
Neymar Jr on Alves: “When I arrived at Barcelona he was my partner on the right wing and we struck up a great relationship. Dani is one of my best friends in football as well, so it would be fantastic to have him in the team.”