Neymar may say that he is happy to play second fiddle to Lionel Messi at Barcelona, but his compatriot Dani Alves thinks the samba star will reach higher.
Wing-back Alves spent the best part of two seasons rapping about why Neymar should join him at Barca. And now that the 21-year-old has officially moved to the Spanish champions, Alves has predicted big things to come from his fellow Brazil international.
He says that Neymar’s “humility” in acceding to Messi is a good sign, but one that is also somewhat misplaced, because he expects Neymar to be challenging La Pulga Atomica for the Ballon d’Or in seasons to come.
"To be the best, first one must have humility, and I know that Neymar does have that," Alves said.
"I'm sure in the future it will be very difficult to choose between Neymar and Messi for the Ballon d'Or.
"He knows how much work needs to be done before he can win as many awards as Leo has done."
Despite the major hype that has surrounded Neymar’s transfer to Barca, many sceptics remain unconvinced that he has what it takes to light up Europe’s top stages.
They especially point towards Neymar’s less than emphatic form for Brazil, for whom he has been touted as the ‘next Pele.’
However, Alves insists that it is unfair to blame Neymar for Brazil’s recent failings, and that given time, he will light up the international stage too.
"I think today it is unfair to put all the responsibility on Neymar, who is just 21 years of age," Alves said.
"This pressure should be distributed to everyone."