The Brazilian was astounded that the Argentine, who is battling Ronaldo for the title of Liga’s top scorer, allowed him to take last weekend’s spot-kick
Neymar says that Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi is not only teaching him how to become a better player, but also a better person.
The pair have become friends since Neymar’s 2013 arrival at Camp Nou from Santos but the Brazilian was blown away by the Argentine’s decision to pass up the chance to complete a hat-trick in last weekend’s win at Cordoba by handing him the penalty-taking duties when the Catalans were awarded a spot-kick with five minutes remaining.
Neymar promptly converted from 12 yards out and immediately signalled his gratitude to Messi, who was more concerned with seeing his colleague get on the scoresheet than his battle with Real Madrid ace Cristiano Ronaldo for the title of top scorer in La Liga.
“I won’t ever forget this detail,” the Selecao captain told reporters on Thursday.
“Messi is the best in the world and he could have easily scored a hat-trick and yet he let me take the penalty.
“I am so very grateful for that gesture. I’m learning so much from Messi every day, both from his football but also these gestures.”
Meanwhile, Neymar admitted that he is confident that Barcelona will book their place in the final of the Champions League next Tuesday, with the Catalans having routed Bayern Munich 3-0 in their first-leg clash at Camp Nou on Wednesday.
With Luis Enrique’s men top of La Liga with three rounds remaining and already through to the final of the Coppa del Rey, the 23-year-old said that the entire squad now believe that the treble is very much on.
“Yes, that’s been the objective from the start of the season,” the attacker added. “We are getting closer.
“We are now 90 minutes away from the final of the Champions League. I think we’ll win [the tie], at least I hope so.
“And then we have an important Liga game [away to Atletico Madrid on May 17], so we have to keep fighting to the end.
“We’ll try to make history. We’ll try to win everything for Barca and show our best football to the world.”