My friendship with Messi is on the line, says Neymar ahead of Brazil-Argentina Copa final

Team KT/Dubai
Filed on July 9, 2021
Former Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar will battle for glory in the Argentina-Brazil Copa America final on Saturday. (AFP)

Saturday's final offers Messi another chance to finally win a trophy with Argentina

Neymar said he would see Lionel Messi, his former Barcelona teammate, only as a rival when hosts Brazil face Argentina in the Copa America final in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday (4am, Sunday, UAE Time).

The Brazilian striker became one of Messi’s best friends during his time at Barcelona.

But in the Copa final on Saturday, Neymar said his only aim would be to prolong Messi’s wait for his first title with the Argentina team.

"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,” Neymar was quotes as saying by on Friday.

"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,” said Neymar referring to Argentina’s 1-0 defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup final.

Argentina beat Colombia on penalties in the semifinal to set up a mouthwatering final clash with bitter rivals Brazil, who defeated Peru 1-0 in the first semifinal.

Saturday’s final offers Messi, the six-time Ballon-d’Or winner, another chance to finally win a trophy with Argentina, having won everything at club level with Barcelona.

But the 34-year-old Argentinian icon will face another tough challenge against the Neymar-inspired Brazil.

"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,” Neymar said.

"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."

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