Neymar: 'I'd heard horrible things about Lionel Messi'

Maya Yoshida and Neymar Japan Brazil

Barcelona star Neymar has revealed that he had "heard horrible things" about Lionel Messi before joining the La Liga giants last summer.

The Brazilian international joined Barca last summer from Santos for reported £49 million and endured mixed fortunes at Camp Nou as they eventually missed out on a La Liga title to Atletico Madrid weeks after suffering a defeat to fierce rivals Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

The 22-year-old has now claimed that he was expecting to run into problems with Barca's star man Messi, who had previously fallen out with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Barca's all-time top scorer enjoys an almost autonomous existence at the club, and Neymar has admitted that he was expecting Messi to have an issue with his arrival last summer.

However, after playing alongside his teammate, the Brazil superstar has claimed that Messi's detractors were wide of the mark.

Mundo Deportivo quotes Neymar as saying: "Before coming here, I had heard horrible things about him - like that he was extremely reserved and never spoke to anyone. Now I see things differently.

"In addition to being a genius, he was very helpful with me off the field. When I see how he behaves with people, I realise how much of a good person he is. I have nothing negative to say about him.

"Messi has surprised in all areas. It was the first time I'd lived outside my country. I missed my family and my friends. It was difficult at first, but I learned a lot, both professionally and personally.

"I learned from every player and tried to adapt my style to the team. Some are good on the pitch, others behave very well in training. I am incorporating the qualities of each one of them."

Both players are expected to feature prominently at the World Cup, with both forwards expected to fire their respective nations to glory in Brazil.

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