Brazil news

Ronaldo: Neymar will surpass Messi

January 10, 2012
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Former Brazil striker Ronaldo believes Santos star Neymar will become better than Lionel Messi when he makes the move to a big European club.

Ronaldo and Neymar
GettyImagesRonaldo and Neymar have grown closer

Neymar has been the subject of much transfer speculation since last summer while clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea reportedly monitor the youngster's progress.

The Brazilian was shortlisted for the FIFA Ballon d'Or award - won by Messi - and Ronaldo insists his compatriot will become the world's best player when he leaves his homeland.

"Neymar cannot just reach Messi, he can be better," Ronaldo said. "He has too much talent to stay only in Brazil.

"He is a talent that we have to export and allow him to dominate the world, to own it playing the game that he does. The prestige and competition in European football is massive."

Ronaldo has received criticism for encouraging Neymar to leave Brazil in the past. But despite the 2011 South American player of the year recently signing a contract extension with Santos, Ronaldo is still pushing for Neymar to transfer.

"I have taken some flak for having said that, but every person has their opinion and it should be respected. I know people like to follow their idols close, but Brazilians also watch the European games.

"They love to watch Barcelona and Real Madrid. I have played practically my entire life out of the country. And the people's love is the same, if not more," Ronaldo said.