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Ronaldo: Time for Neymar to become world's best

Ronaldo: Time for Neymar to become world's best

Posted by Juan Gavasa on December 02, 2014

Brazil legend Ronaldo has told Neymar that the time has come for him to step up and take on Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi for the title of best player in the world. Real Madrid forward Ronaldo and Barcelona's Messi have had a duopoly on the Ballon d'Or over the past six years that is expected to continue into 2015, even though Neymar shone at the 2014 World Cup before an injury killed his and Brazil's hopes of glory.

However, the now-retired Ronaldo - who won the Ballon d'Or twice, in 1997 and 2002 - has called on his 22-year-old compatriot to start taking strides towards becoming the greatest footballer on the planet. "It's about time Neymar assumed the position of best player in the world," Ronaldo told Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo.

"Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi are the best at this time, but Neymar has improved."

Meanwhile, the former Inter, Barca and Real Madrid striker acknowledged that the Selecao are currently in a period of transition, with former superstars such as Kaka and Robinho having gone from world-beaters to big-money flops in a short space of time.

Consequently, he is desperately hoping that Neymar and Brazil's current crop of exciting youngsters do not suffer the same problems in the future. "Neymar's transfer to Europe has done him a lot of good," Ronaldo mused. "Brazil as a nation, though, is going through a difficult time in every way in administrative terms and in finding talent.

"We have many great players. We live in the hope that Neymar, who is excellent, will become the best in the country, but there have been many times when others with a lot of talent did not make the step up for Brazil.

"For various reasons, the likes of Ronaldinho, Kaka, Adriano and Robinho failed to transfer their talent from my generation to Neymar's."

Ronaldo added that the World Cup 2014 hosts are "hurting" after their semi-final and third-place play-off humiliations to Germany and Netherlands, respectively, but that they can use that pain to drive them on the road to redemption. On the back of the Selecao responding to this summer's failures with six successive wins, Ronaldo said: "We want to use those memories [from the World Cup] in our favour."

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