Messi: Neymar to Real Madrid Would be 'Terrible Blow'

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(WFI) Barcelona’s superstar Lionel Messi believes that if his former teammate and friend Neymar were to play in the future with Real Madrid, it would be a “terrible blow.”
Lionel Messi (Flickr)

In an interview with Argentina’s TyC Sports, Messi weighed in on the possibility that Neymar will leave Paris Saint Germain after only one season in the French capital.

“It would be terrible because of everything Ney means for Barcelona. To finish at Real Madrid would be a big hit to us... And at a soccer level, he would make Madrid much stronger than that it is.”

Messi says that Neymar does not have to prove himself. Argentina’s captain also spoke about his personal choices. "One watches other leagues, but at the time to decide, it's difficult to leave Barcelona."

Even though some analysts have considered him the best ever on a football pitch, Messi insists that he has never been driven by the pursuit of individual honor.

In fact, he claims to have no interest in being considered “the best in history”, while repeating he has no personal battle with Real Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.

“I always want to improve myself and I do not compete with anyone because I do not play to be the best in history but to improve myself year after year and to keep winning. Every time I start a season I try to improve myself, win everything, leave everything every time I go out to the pitch, give the maximum for my teammates and for myself. It does not change anything to be the best in history.”

The Barcelona ace though makes a distinction between Barcelona and its archrival. “Position by position Madrid have the best players in the world, as do we," says Messi. "But Madrid has something that only they have: Playing badly, they can still get results. We (Barcelona) have to be the far superior side to win."

With one game left on the season, Messi has already led Barca to a Liga and Copa del Rey double title this season but the elimination in the Champions League against Roma after blowing a 4-1 advantage still resonates with the 31-year-old player.

"This recent Champions League was screwed up, given the advantage we had, we [should have been] in the semis. It was a huge disappointment. We were so close..."

Messi after losing a third Copa America final in 2016 (Getty Images)
Messi also remains committed to the Argentina’s national team regardless of what happens next month at the Russia World Cup. Thus when asked what he still hopes to achieve, Messi added: “Obviously winning with the national team would be the best because nothing has been given to us.”

Despite all his trophies with Barcelona and his own individual honors, Messi is still chasing a first senior international prize after having endured losses in the 2014 World Cup final and three Copa America finals.

Messi admits regretting his decision to leave the national team in 2016. "After saying that I thought it was not the right thing to do, it would be giving the wrong message to all the youth and all the people who fight for their dreams. Keep trying and keep fighting for what you want.”

Months before the start of perhaps his last World Cup, Messi believes reaching the semifinals in Russia would be a success, with anything beyond that a bonus.

“To make a good World Cup is to be among the first four,” he added. Argentina deserves to be there because of the history it has. "Although it requires a lot of hard work to get to that point, I think we have to be there again."

Argentina will open their World Cup 2018 campaign in Group D against Iceland on June 16 before facing Croatia and Nigeria.

By INSIDER Javier Monne

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