Former Brazil international Mazinho backed the Barcelona forward to be the world’s best, thanks to the guidance of his team-mate
Neymar finished third to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d’Or in 2015, while he is also on the shortlist this year.
The 24-year-old guided Brazil to Olympic gold, and his four goals and as many assists in nine La Liga games this season help Barca sit second.
Mazinho, a 1994 World Cup winner, believes it is only a matter of time before Neymar is considered the best in the world.
“Neymar will be the best in the world in the near future,” he told Globo Esporte. “Messi will help him become the best in the world.
“Every great player helps another great player. Messi helps Neymar a lot and Neymar is already one of the best.”
With four goals, Neymar has also been instrumental in helping Brazil make a flying start to World Cup qualifying, with Tite’s men four points clear atop the CONMEBOL standings.
Mazinho hopes the attacker will be ready to lead the nation to their first World Cup since 2002 at Russia 2018.
“He’s the biggest talent we have in Brazilian football and the world of football,” he said.
“He will be a leader in the World Cup in Russia and hopefully we win the title.”