Football

Scolari won't compare Neymar with Messi

Who's better, Neymar or Messi? Scolari says:

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Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari refused to be drawn into a comparison between his forward Neymar and Argentina's four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, saying he would give a definitive answer in 15 years.

Brazil's 22-year-old forward Neymar is leading the top scorer's chart in his first World Cup, along with Messi and Germany's Thomas Mueller.

They are on four goals each after three games.

Messi, playing in his third World Cup, has almost single-handedly carried title contenders Argentina into the second round by scoring four of their six goals, including a stoppage-time winner against Iran.

"Messi is an excellent player, a star, one of the best players in the world," Scolari said, when asked if he shared former Brazil striker Ronaldo's view that Messi was the best.

"Naturally any club, national team or backyard game will want him around. This is Ronaldo's opinion and we have to respect it.

"He is one of the best. He is a player of a lot, a l...o...t of quality," he said, dragging out the word.

Scolari, however, said he would announce his verdict once both players had finished their careers.

SIDESTEP

"My personal opinion, I will tell you in 10-15 years. Now I don't have to tell you anything," said Scolari.

Like his Barcelona teammate Messi, Neymar has also had to carry a team of under-performers to the next round.

He scored braces in wins against Croatia (3-1) and Cameroon (4-1), but could not get the better of an in-form Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa as both sides drew 0-0.

Neymar, who had a less than successful first season at the Catalan club, has the backing of Brazil captain Thiago Silva, who said the player would soon reach the dizzying heights of Messi.

"Messi is one of the best strikers. But I think Neymar is rising and, depending on where we are at end of the World Cup, he will be considered one of the best players or the best player in the world," Thiago said.

"He is going to get to where Messi is today. Messi is undoubtedly one of the best but I am sure Neymar will get there."

Meanwhile, Germany's Mueller, who won the 2010 World Cup Golden Boot, said he is more interested in winning the World Cup.

The 24-year-old Bayern Munich forward, who scored five goals at the last World Cup, said: "The goal record doesn't interest me at the moment, I have already got one Golden Boot.

"I want to be a world champion, (the World Cup) is something I haven't won yet."

- Reuters.


Messi is an excellent player, a star, one of the best players in the world... My person opinion, I will tell you in 10-15 years. Now I don’t have to tell you anything.

- Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari

Messi is one of the best strikers. But I think Neymar is rising... Messi is undoubtedly one of the best but I am sure Neymar will get there.

- Brazil captain Thiago Silva

Messi is so good it’s frightening. Beyond genius... I can’t think of another man that excites me quite as much as Messi does.

- Ex-England captain Gary Lineker on Twitter, during Argentina’s 3-2 win over Nigeria on Thursday, when Messi scored a brace