Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has revealed in an interview with Brazilian TV show Altas Horas how his relationship with Lionel Messi really took off.
Neymar explained that he had some tough moments during his early days as a Barça player but that a pep talk from Messi helped him kick on.
“I remember a game with Barcelona when I was side, I was nearly crying because things weren’t coming off for me,” Neymar said.
“It was halftime and Messi came up to me and told me that I only had to be the same player I had always been, to be myself.
“‘You have yo be yourself,’ he told me. ‘You can’t be intimidated to be playing alongside me or [Andres] Iniesta,’ he insisted.’
“To see the humility of a guy that has won it all, that is the best in the world, asking you to be yourself and show your best, without any kind of vanity, was something I loved.
“I tell that story all the time to my family, to my friends. He helped me a lot professionally, of course, but also personally.
“To play with stars like Messi, Iniesta and Xavi makes you a little shy. But after speaking with Messi I came out of myself, showed what I had, relaxed and played with confidence.
“Since that day, I have had a huge friendship with Messi.”