Rio de Janeiro: Brazilian football legend Cafu has said his country’s poster boy Neymar should stay at Spanish champions FC Barcelona to fulfill his immense potential.
Neymar signed for Barcelona from Brazilian club Santos in 2013-14 and helped them to three major trophies last season, forging a lethal attacking trio with superstars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
The Brazilian has been consistently linked to several top European clubs, including Real Madrid, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.
“I hope that he can continue at Barcelona. Barcelona is a team that supports him, it’s a team that provides him with structure to help him continue to shine,” Cafu was quoted as saying by laureus.com on Tuesday.
Neymar was beaten by Messi for the 2015 World Footballer of the Year award but Cafu believes it is only a matter of time before he becomes the world’s best.
“Neymar’s moment will happen, it didn’t happen this time but the next time, for sure. Neymar will increase his advantage over the others. Each player becomes the best in the world in their own time. He is very important for world football today, the way football should be played, content and happy. He could become one of the world’s best football idols,” the 45-year-old said.
Cafu, the only player to appear in three straight World Cup finals (1994, 1998 and 2002), also said if Neymar plays in the 2016 Rio Olympics, Brazil could win a medal.
“He is the most important player in the Brazilian team. I think he should play. If he does, we will be able to win an Olympic medal. We have never won an Olympic Games and for that reason it will be important for us. Independent of whether we won or lost the 2014 World Cup, the Olympics will be important for us to create more credibility,” he added.
But Cafu does not believe it will take away the pain of the infamous 1-7 defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final.
“That will stay for the rest of our lives, whenever anyone talks about Brazil they always mention the World Cup and being beaten by Germany. There is no way of escaping that,” said Cafu.