Neymar says he has fallen “completely in love” with Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi after working with the Argentina superstar every day.
The Brazil captain is vying for the Ballon d’Or award alongside Messi and Real Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo, with the winner set to be announced in Zurich on Monday.
Messi is the overwhelming favourite to win football’s most prestigious individual prize, but Neymar has established himself as one of the world’s best players by contributing 39 goals in Barca’s treble-winning 2014-15 season, while he has also added 18 this term.
Neymar believes he still has work to do to be considered in the same category as Messi and Ronaldo, but the 23-year-old is determined to follow in their footsteps.
Speaking at a media conference ahead of the Ballon d’Or ceremony, Neymar said: “I don’t know if I am at their [Messi and Ronaldo’s] level yet. They are two idols. And it is always nice to see yourself on par with your idols or perhaps even better.
“I always want to improve and give my best at every match. That is much more important than to be better than anyone for me.
“I think they are absolutely the best players in the world and that is why they are here. They have made history, both Messi and Ronaldo.
“I work with Leo every day and I admire him both on and off the pitch. I fell completely in love with him. He has become an idol.
“I wish both of them all the success. They are examples to follow. I want to make and break records and follow in their footsteps.”