The Juventus and Barcelona superstars still hold a special place in the heart of the Brazil international as he looks to reach their level.
Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the benchmark and players to learn from, according to Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar.
The 26-year-old played alongside Messi at Barcelona, and regularly squared off with Juventus and Portugal sensation Cristiano Ronaldo during his spell in La Liga with Real Madrid.
Nevertheless, he remains in awe of the talents of the duo, who have established a stranglehold on the Ballon d’Or over the last decade.
“Facing Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo – and I played with Messi, who is, for me, one of the greatest footballers of all time, and he is my idol in football,” he told the Players’ Tribune .
“With Messi, I learned every day, whether during our practice, or playing with him, or just watching him play. And that made me stronger and it increased my capacity on the field because I kept learning a lot from him.
“As for Cristiano Ronaldo, he is a monster. Facing him is a pleasure and an honor, but we have to be more prepared. He is one of the greatest in football so you get smarter, you get alert, but at the same time you learn a lot, too.
“So, they are two of the big guys that I can relate to, because I want to learn, I want more, I want to win, I want more trophies, score more goals … so I keep learning from them every day.”
Ronaldo has enjoyed a superb start to life in Serie A, scoring seven goals and providing five assists in 10 appearances for the Bianconeri thus far this term.
Messi, meanwhile, is currently injured, and missed the recent 5-1 Clasico thumping of Real Madrid. Amazingly, he has exactly the same numbers as Ronaldo, netting seven goals and laying on five assists.
PSG, Barcelona and Juventus all currently lead their respective leagues.
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