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Ronaldinho: Neymar will be the best

December 8, 2012
By ESPN staff

Brazilian legend Ronaldinho has told ESPN that young Santos star Neymar will become the greatest player in the world one day.

Neymar and Messi
GettyImagesNeymar and Lionel Messi could prove a lethal force if combined in Barcelona's attack

Ronaldinho, 32, is currently playing in the Brazilian league with Atletico Mineiro and has come up against the talented 20-year-old on more than a few occasions. Indeed, he has seen enough to suggest that the winger will supplant Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the pecking order of world football once he reaches his peak.

"Cristiano has been making history for many years now, but Messi is the best in the world, and one day Neymar will be the best," Ronaldinho told ESPN.

As Messi closes in on Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year, Ronaldinho paid tribute to his former Barcelona team-mate.

"For me Messi is the best in the world," he added. "For the last few years he has played at a level of football we have never seen before.

"I'm very proud to speak of him, because I was there when he started off and now he is the best in the world, it makes me so happy.

"The game I remember the most is when he scored his first goal, because it came from my pass and I remember this game most vividly because he was just getting started.

"I had the chance to be there and live that moment. I'm very happy that his first professional goal came from a pass from me. Messi knows that there will always be a place in my heart for him."