Messi-Neymar friendship ‘on the line’
Brazil ace Neymar joked that his friendship with former Barcelona colleague Lionel Messi will be put to the test when the pair meet in the Copa America final on Sunday.
The eyes of the footballing world will be set on the game with the two biggest South American teams locking horns in what would be their first meeting in a final since 2005.
Neymar told reporters ahead of a clash which will see Argentina's captain going in search of a first senior honour with his country: "Messi is, as I've always said, the best player I've ever seen play and he's a great friend, but now we're in a final, we're rivals. I want to win and I really want to win this title, which would be my first Copa America.
"Messi has been looking for his first title with the national team for many years, and every time we [Brazil] are not present at the tournament, I cheered for him. That's what I've been cheering for in the 2014 World Cup final, when he faced Germany.
"Now Brazil is in the dispute, so our friendship is on the line. The respect between us is still great but only one can win.
"When you're friends with someone, it's hard to forget the friendship you have - but for example when you play video games with a friend, you want to beat him anyway. It'll be the same thing on Saturday."
Neymar himself is also looking for his first Copa America title. Despite Brazil being the current title holders, Neymar sat out the 2019 Copa America due to an injury.
Neymar today lashed out at Brazilians on social media for not supporting the team.
"I'm Brazilian with a lot of pride, with a lot of love. My dream was always to be in the Brazilian national team and hear the fans singing. I've never supported or will support against anything Brazil is competing for, whatever the sport or modelling contest."