'Neymar can become world's best player in 3-4 years'

New Delhi: Paris Saint Germain midfielder Marco Verratti feels his team-mate and Brazil superstar Neymar can become the world's bes...



New Delhi: Paris Saint Germain midfielder Marco Verratti feels his team-mate and Brazil superstar Neymar can become the world's best player in the next three-four years.

The ultimate recognition for a footballer, Ballon d'Or has exchanged hands between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi since 2008 but Verratti says Neymar, who is currently recuperating from an injury, can lay his hands on the coveted trophy in the next few years.

"It is Cristiano and Messi now but you have to consider that Neymar is five years younger to them and despite that he is already a great player. He (Neymar) has a high chance to win (Ballon d'Or) in the coming years," Verratti told PTI in an interview.

"He (Neymar) has all the qualities to become the best player in the world and win that trophy. We hope he does that," he said when asked whether Neymar can take the place of Ronaldo and Messi in the next three-four years.

Ronaldo is already 33-years-old while Messi will be 31 next month. Neymar, on the other hand, is 26. He was among the final three shortlist for the coveted honour in the last two years but ended up at third spot after voting by national team captains and coaches as well as journalists.

Neymar joined PSG in a world record transfer fee of USD 263 million from FC Barcelona but he got injured in late February. Despite Neymar's absence, PSG are already the Ligue 1 champions with two matches left to be played.

"We are very lucky to have Neymar in Paris and to train with him. He is one of the best players in the world and he is important for the club but we don't depend on one single player. It would have been good if he was not injured and played full part with maximum impact but it shows our depth and strength that we can win comfortably without him in the later part," said the 25-year-old, who has been with the PSG since 2012.

The big spending PSG crashed out of the Champions Trophy in the Round of 16 for the second time in two years, losing to Real Madrid who are fighting for the trophy later this month against Liverpool.

Asked what has been lacking in the Paris-based side despite the huge investments their Qatari owners have splurged in buying some big players, the Italian playmaker said, "Of course, we could not get past Real Madrid. It seems they are a step ahead of us currently. But we are positive of doing better in coming years and we backed ourselves to do that.

"We will become one of the biggest sides in the world in future and we are on track to do that but it is not about money which will make you do well in the Champions Trophy," said Verratti, who was compared a few years ago with Spain and former Barcelona midfield general Xavi Hernandez.

Asked about the Indian Super League, where some of the Italian players like Alessandro del Piero had plied trade though in the wanning stages of their careers, Verratti said, "I know Italian players played in the ISL. Football touches a lot of people and I don't see why international players should not go to play in India."

PSG has an academy in India in Gurugram.

Verratti will miss the upcoming Russia World Cup as Italy could not qualify for the showpiece tournament for the first time in 60 years.

-Source: News Agency

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Local Glob: 'Neymar can become world's best player in 3-4 years'
'Neymar can become world's best player in 3-4 years'
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