Plenty has been said about Lionel Messi’s lack of brilliance in Argentina colours but for former Barcelona teammate Neymar, it was an opportunity to not have to face Messi in the upcoming friendly as it gives them a better chance to overcome their South American rivals.
Speculations about Messi’s future with the national team rumbles on after he chose to take a break from national duty after a disappointing World Cup. Neymar admitted that it was a blow for the spectators not to be able to see Messi playing against Brazil but nevertheless added that it was an advantage for his side.
“For those who love football, having Messi out of a game like this is bad. But for us it's good," Neymar told a pre-match news conference. "We never underestimate Argentina's quality, the players they have in their squad.
Facing Lionel Messi is always an uphill task but Neymar reiterated that Brazil cannot be off their guard especially with Paulo Dybala in the other team.
“Argentina have Dybala, who is a player that I really like, so we have to be switched on.
“It's a very difficult game. We will have to do our job and it's always good to play them. There are no favourites.”
Neymar himself has been in good form as he looks to recover from the disappointment of the World Cup exit and also find his mojo on the pitch.
“In Paris, I've been playing centrally and here, Tite gives me more freedom, not only to stay in the centre but also up front.
“Over the years a player will look for their best position … it is part of football, but I think I still have a lot to give,” he said.