• Di Maria denies Juventus, Barca interest
Neymar is ready to assume the mantle of being the best player in the world, according to former Barcelona full-back, Juliano Belletti.
Brazil captain, Neymar is one shy of bringing up his 100th Barca goal and continues to be viewed as a supreme part of a forward collective alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Messi and Real Madrid rival, Cristiano Ronaldo have engaged in a two-way fight for the Ballon d’Or for most of the past decade, but Belletti, who scored the winning goal in the 2006 Champions League final against Arsenal, believes his countryman is improving all the time.
“Neymar can be the best player in the world soon,” he said, speaking at the launch of the 2017 International Champions Cup in New York.
“He knows about the pressure, he has more experience on the pitch and he is in the best team in the world. He’s a Brazilian, of course, which is good, but Barcelona have something Brazilian in the kind of match [they play].
“So it is good for Neymar. We will see a better Neymar in all of the [coming] years.”
Neymar stepped up with two late goals and a superb all-round display as Barcelona sensationally overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit in their 6-1 Champions League last-16 win over Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou.
Belletti feels the confidence gained from such an incredible victory could propel Luis Enrique’s team to a second European title in the past three seasons.
“I think it is about confidence now,” he added, with Serie A giants Juventus awaiting Barca in the quarter-finals and eyeing revenge for their 2015 final defeat.
“After that victory against Paris Saint-Germain the players have more confidence to fight for the title.”
Meanwhile, it looks like another club likes Angel Di Maria. Tuttosport claim (via le10Sport) that Juventus have entered the fray for the former Manchester United man.
Di Maria has enjoyed a bit of a resurrection in 2017, after ending last year on some poor form.
The Argentine international is, however, part of PSG’s future plans. The Ligue 1 champions don’t want to give up on the 29-year-old, who has scored six goals and made seven assists between the league and the Champions League.
A recent report confirmed, in fact, that Angel Di Maria wanted to join Barcelona, something Le10 Sport had revealed last summer.
Part of the reason was his desire to play with friend Lionel Messi.
Di Maria recently revealed, however, that he was “very happy here. I still have two years on my deal.
“My family is happy here. There have, of course, been rumours. I’ll stay here until the end of my deal. Everybody has their way of thinking.
“The people can wish to play in China, it’s true that with the amounts of money we’re talking about, that can attract certain players. But that’s not my case, I prefer to stay here.”