Brazilian star Neymar has given four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi the credit for his upturn in form during his second season with Barcelona.
Neymar was set up twice by Messi to bag a double against Elche in a 6-0 rout on Saturday to take his tally for the season to 19 goals in just 24 games, four more than he managed in the entirety of his debut campaign in Spain.
“Of all the players I have seen play, Messi is the best and I will always have enormous respect for him,” the 22-year-old said on Monday.
“We are getting better all the time and together we can do great things. If you have a good relationship off the field it can influence things on it.
“To play beside the best is very easy.”
Neymar has yet to win a major trophy in Barca colours after the Catalan giants missed out last season for the first time in six years.
On a personal note, his season was blighted by injuries, as well the controversy surrounding his transfer from Santos which led to the club being accused of tax fraud and the resignation of president Sandro Rossell.
And the Brazilian captain has bounced back admirably from seeing his dreams of World Cup glory on home soil ended by breaking two vertebrae during his country’s 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia in July.
“I have evolved professionally and personally, I have learned from players I have by my side who are world icons. It is a pleasure to be able to train with them.”