Neymar revealed he and Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Lionel Messi joke about a potential World Cup final between Brazil and Argentina in Qatar.
Neymar and Messi, alongside Kylian Mbappe, form a fearsome front three for PSG, one that has fired them to a five-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 and reached the Champions League knockout stages.
But that alliance will be temporarily halted until PSG’s next game on December 28, as the three superstars bid to win the World Cup for their respective countries.
While he was highly complimentary of Messi and Mbappe, Neymar jokingly hinted that he fancies his Brazil side’s chances in a potential match-up with Messi’s Argentina.
“We don’t discuss it very much,” Neymar told The Telegraph. “But sometimes we joke about crossing paths with each other in the final.
“I tell him [Messi] that I’ll be champion and win against him and we have a good laugh.
“Playing with him and Kylian is a huge pleasure. They’re two greats, with Messi long considered the best in the world.
“Kylian is a young player who’s been growing and showing his potential and still has a lot to grow. It’s always great to play alongside the greats, I’ve always preferred that because the chances of winning are higher.”
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Neymar feels Brazil are one of the favourites, but also highlighted a number of other teams he believes are capable of making the final on December 18.
“The World Cup is full of surprises,” he explained. “You get teams that unexpectedly get very far even in the competition even if many don’t believe in them.
“But I believe the favourites are Argentina, Germany, Spain and France. I think those four along with Brazil are fully capable of reaching the final.”
At the age of 30, the Qatar World Cup could be Neymar’s last attempt at glory with Brazil, having fallen short in his two previous experiences at international football’s premier tournament.
One of those was particularly painful, when Neymar suffered a back injury in a victorious quarter-final meeting with Colombia at Brazil’s home tournament in 2014.
Neymar was ruled out of the semi-final with Germany, a match Brazil went on to lose by a humiliating 7-1 scoreline.
But the former Barcelona forward says his career would not feel incomplete if he were to never win the World Cup, saying: “No, in my career I’ve achieved things beyond my imagination.
“So, if it ended today, I would still be the happiest person in the world.”
The number 10 jersey that Neymar dons for Brazil is steeped in history, having been worn by Selecao legends like Pele, Ronaldinho and Zico.
Neymar does not experience the pressure that could come with following those Brazilian idols, declaring: “I don’t feel under pressure, quite the opposite.
“I’m happy to be able to wear the number 10 on the Brazilian team and make history. It’s a great pride and honour to be part of the group of players that wore it and I only feel happiness about it.”
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