BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona’s new recruit Neymar says he is living a boyhood dream after completing a high-profile move from Santos at the end of May and joining up with his idol Lionel Messi.
The 21-year-old Brazil forward made his Barca debut as a late substitute in a 2-2 friendly draw at Polish side Lechia Gdansk on Tuesday and could make his first appearance at the Nou Camp when the La Liga champions play Santos on Friday for the Joan Gamper invitational trophy.
“When I am training it feels like being in a dream,” Neymar, the standout performer for his country in their Confederations Cup triumph in June, told a post-training news conference on Thursday.
“A dream I had when I was a kid and that is coming true now,” he added. “I turn my head and there is Messi. Or Xavi, (Andres) Iniesta or (Carles) Puyol. I feel complete, it is like a dream. I am really, really happy.”
Neymar is likely to occupy a position wide on the left under new coach Gerardo Martino, with Argentine World Player of the Year Messi in his more central role, and Barca fans are eager to see how the gifted pair will perform.
Neymar said he saw no reason to change the way he plays and that he and Messi were fully compatible.
“I have to keep on doing my thing and fulfil this dream,” he said.
“He is wonderful, Messi. He is always happy, he is a great guy. We talk every day.
“Don’t worry, I am sure there is going to be no problem at all. He is my idol. For me, he is the best. I respect him a lot and I hope to be able to help him out.”
Neymar is ambitious for success in Europe and said Barca would be aiming to repeat their historic treble of Champions League, La Liga and King’s Cup titles from 2009.
“There is always pressure, and especially in a club like Barcelona,” he told reporters.
“But I am not worried. We need to stay calm when playing football as well as when training because we are always under pressure. It is a part of football.”
Barca begin the defence of their La Liga title, when they will be chasing a fifth triumph in six seasons, at home to Levante in just under three weeks.