The 2015 Ballon d’Or has already been “reserved” for Lionel Messi, according to Barcelona team-mate Neymar.
Messi is the current favourite to claim the game’s top individual prize after inspiring Barcelona to the treble last season before reaching the final of the Copa America with Argentina.
Neymar is eager to be named among the final three nominees for the ceremony in January of next year but has little doubt who will claim the prize currently held by Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Leo is the favourite. This year, the Ballon d’Or is reserved for Messi, the best player in the world has already been named. For everything he’s done, Leo deserves it,” Neymar told Mundo Deportivo.
“I hope to grow playing alongside Messi. He’s the best and an idol for me. And if I learn a lot then maybe one day I can win.
“Of course I want to be in the top three, that would be great for me.”
With Messi currently sidelined with a knee ligament injury, Neymar insists he is ready to handle the pressure of becoming Barca’s focal point in attack.
“Since I was young, I’ve always assumed responsibilities, for Santos, for the national team,” he said.
“But here it’s different, we know our responsibility, what we have to do on the pitch, and I’m going to do everything to help my team-mates.
“The challenge doesn’t scare me even though I know it’s difficult.
“Leo’s fine. It’s a delicate injury but he looks good and looks to be very happy with his recovery.”