“Right now there are three big stars: Messi, Cristiano, and Neymar, and they can’t play at the same club.” Those are the words of Pini Zahavi, an intermediary in Neymar’s world-record move from Barcelona to PSG last summer.
Messi calmed Neymar's Barcelona nerves
But the Brazilian and the Argentine did manage to coexist for four years at Barcelona, during which time they forged a strong understanding off the pitch and a firm friendship off it. That all started in 2013, at half-time in a match that was going badly for Neymar.
“He saw that I was close to tears because I hadn’t had a good first half,” Neymar told Altas Horas. “Messi saw that I was upset and he started to talk to me: ‘you have to be yourself, play your football, and don’t let yourself get intimidated.’”
Neymar relaxed from that point and his Barcelona career began to take off.
“After talking to him I started to get going, to show my football and gain confidence,” he added. “It was when I relaxed and became happy, and began a strong friendship.”