Neymar tipped to replace Lionel Messi as Barcelona's star man

David Cooper - Writer 18:59 03/08/2019
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Neymar has been tipped to replace Lionel Messi as Barcelona’s leading light, but there is one caveat says former Brazil international Edmilson.

Barca continue to be linked with a move for their former star as Neymar’s fallout with Paris Saint-Germain intensifies.

Edmilson, who has played in both Ligue 1 and La Liga with Lyon and the Blaugrana, is adamant his compatriot can take over Messi’s status as the undisputed star once the Argentine retires.

However, a better mentality will be required to take his game to the level of Messi’s.

“Barca will be thinking about Messi’s retirement. He still has a few years left in him, but in three, four or five years, I think Neymar could very well take the place of Messi,” he told Goal in an exclusive interview.

“Neymar is a great player, but he has to have a good mindset to play his football.

“He has had two average seasons combined with injuries and did not have a great World Cup.

“PSG did win the league but ultimately these are not Neymar’s best years.”

Should Neymar return to the Camp Nou, he’ll be heading back into an environment much different to the one he left to become the world’s most expensive player.

Antoine Griezmann adds to Ernesto Valverde’s attacking options and Edmilson says Neymar must focus his game if he is to become the team’s focal point.

He added: “Barca have a host of great players and they will have to decide who plays if they want to bring him back. They have brought in Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele is still there and so is Philippe Coutinho.

“There are many attacking players in the middle as well such as Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Sergio Busquets.

“He started well at PSG, he was fine. He was well surrounded with his dad. But after that, I do not know what happened…

“I think Neymar has a place everywhere. The fans are happy when he his playing well and scoring goals but the truth is that he is not always there.

“He remains a great player and we will need to see where he feels is best to continue to flourish because today Ney has lost a little bit of edge since Barca.”

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