Neymar doesn't fear 'hostile' Real fans | The Daily Star
01:19 PM, November 21, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:25 PM, November 21, 2015

Barcelona's Neymar doesn't fear 'hostile' Real Madrid fans

Barcelona star Neymar said he doesn't fear passionate Real Madrid fans at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu for the Saturday Clasico. 

The Brazil captain has stepped up in the absence of Lionel Messi, who's been sidelined with a knee injury since Sept. 26 but has been given clearance to return to action on Saturday. The former Santos man has scored 10 goals and given an additional six assists in the 10 games the Argentine has missed.

"I'm used to hostile environments," he said. "In Brazil these types of games create great rivalries. As a matter of fact, compared to what I have lived through in Brazil, I am calm in the face of a match against Madrid. As Santos-Sao Paulo or Santos-Palmeiras is even tougher."

Since his move to Barcelona from the Brazilian club in 2013, the Selecao captain has played in four Clasicos against Real Madrid and Barcelona have won three of them. Neymar has scored two goals in those four matches and he said he's hopeful he can add to his tally.

"I'd always dreamt of playing in a Barca-Madrid match and I scored in my first with my family and friends in the crowd, but I still hope to do better than what I've done against Real Madrid so far," he told Mundo Deportivo.

"[My first Clasico] goal will always remain in my memory," he said. "It was the first goal I scored against Madrid in my first season [at Barca]. It was my first Clasico and I marked it with a goal."

Neymar's father on Wednesday hinted that his son's future may not be with the Catalan giants as tax and legal issues have dogged the Blaugrana No. 11 since moving from Brazil. But Neymar insisted he is happy where he is.

"I'm having a great year. Since last season, I've been playing my way, as I played before [at Santos], and I'm very happy," he said.

"I feel at home now. The first year was about learning, the second was better and I now feel more within the [Barcelona] family."

Messi scored 58 goals in all competitions last season for Barcelona in their Primera Division, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble-winning campaign.

During his absence this season, Luis Suarez and Neymar have accounted for 20 of Barca's 23 goals. Neymar is La Liga's leading scorer with 11 goals, two more than Suarez.

"We're surprised that no one expected us to link up so well. People said we wouldn't have a good relationship, but I knew it wouldn't be the case."

He said he was not focused on individual honors.

"For me, what matters is to win trophies," he said. "The Ballon d'Or is always Leo and Cristiano [Ronaldo], who are worlds apart.

"I want to help with goals and assists. I don't care if I'm the top scorer, I just want to be happy."

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