Roberto Carlos has tipped Barcelona and Brazil superstar Neymar to be the world’s best player in the next two to three years.
Neymar’s Barca team-mate Lionel Messi and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo are widely considered to have been the two best talents on the planet, with no other playing winning the Ballon d’Or award during the last seven years.
But former Brazil star Carlos, who represented Barca’s rivals Madrid for 11 years between 1996 and 2007 during a distinguished career, believes his compatriot has the talent to break that mould in the coming seasons.
“To say that I prefer Neymar is to change those ideas that only Messi or Cristiano can be the best soccer player in the world,” Carlos told Onda Cero.
“Neymar is a great player and a friend who I have seen grow. I hope the people of Madrid do not get angry at me. Within two to three years Neymar will be number one in the world.”
Since hanging up his boots, Carlos has turned his hand to coaching and has had spells in charge of Anzhi Makhachkala, Sivasspor and Akhisar Belediyespor, on an interim basis at the former club. He is now head coach of Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League.
But the 42-year-old has loftier ambitions and is dreaming of one day returning to Estadio Santiago Bernabeu.
“I am working and learning here in order to come back as Real Madrid boss or head coach with Brazil, where I played for 17 years,” he said.
“I think the doors to both are open to me. If the time ever comes for me to return to Real Madrid, I’ll do it gladly.”
Current Madrid coach Rafael Benitez has led the team to the top of La Liga after 10 matches, with the club unbeaten in the top flight.
However, the former Liverpool boss has been the subject of criticism over what has been perceived to be an overly cautious approach.
Carlos, though, was in no mood to join in with the criticism, saying: “I’d never criticise a coach of Benitez’s calibre. If he’s at Real Madrid, he must bring something to the table.”