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Neymar not yet near Messi, says former coach


09:16, July 31, 2013

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- Neymar's former coach Muricy Ramalho believed the Brazil striker could not yet be compared to new Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi.

The 57-year-old, sacked as coach of Brazilian top-flight club Santos in June, said Monday that Neymar needed to shine consistently in Europe before being classed alongside the four-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"Messi is number one," Ramalho said. "Neymar will improve at Barcelona, but he has a long way to go to get to where Messi is."

Ramalho rejected suggestions from Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff that the pair will not be compatible on the pitch.

"I'm sure they will work well together, there won't be any problems. Neymar is a good kid and he has a lot of respect for Messi."

Neymar, who arrived in Barcelona on Sunday following his 57 million-euro transfer from Santos, is set to make his debut for the Catalan club against Polish side Lechia Gdansk on Tuesday.

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