Rivaldo Exclusive: Neymar not afraid to take Barca reins alongside Messi

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Brazilian legend Rivaldo talks about Neymar's likely transfer to Barcelona where he is backing his countryman to succeed...

"Neymar - like Luis Suárez - is one of the few players in the world that doesn't feel pressure on the pitch, always playing with plenty of personality."

The rumours are growing about Barcelona's intention to sign Neymar and Lautaro Martinez in the next transfer window. Although the young Argentinian is a good player, I think that only Neymar is a certain bet to claim a place in the starting XI side by side with Messi.

Looking at the last few years we have seen many valuable players who didn't manage to play alongside Messi - failing to perform under the expectations.

But Neymar - like Luis Suárez - is one of the few players in the world that doesn't feel pressure on the pitch, always playing with plenty of personality.

He never gets frightened and it would be a safe option for the club while Martinez is a young, talented forward that perhaps in two or three years may become a good signing. For now I think the club should prioritise Neymar.

I'm a fan of his qualities and personality and I know that sometimes I'm liable to criticism as some Barcelona fans didn't like the way Neymar decided to leave the club.

But the truth is that he is a different player now who should be a nice help to Messi and co. in trying to win another Champions League.

Xavi will be Barca manager in the future

As I mentioned in previous pieces, I believe that Xavi will become Barcelona manager in the future as he is not only a good person who knows the club inside out, but also seems to have good qualities as manager.

In the right moment he will know that the time to coach Barcelona has come and he will try to get his Barca team close to his golden generation at the Camp Nou.

Xavi 1280.jpg

The pressure of raising the club to that level will be high, especially because he had a similar professional career to Guardiola, a somewhat identical style of playing and could now replicate a system in which he was a maestro.

Of course, it won't be easy to make anything similar and he would need to have the right players at the right time to put his system working perfectly.

When you got this kind of pressure it's because other people trust you and you are in charge of a big club with huge ambitions. Any manager would love to coach Barcelona.

Much will depend on the players he has when he arrives in Barcelona. He must add two or three key pieces to strengthen the group and give him a chance of matching Guardiola's levels.

Good sense should allow Brazil to build a strong Olympic team

With the Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021 some important Brazilian players will be over 23-years-old when the tournament arrives - and for that reason forbidden to participate - but I think steps will be taken to correct this situation.

Players like Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison, David Neres or Gerson would play this summer for the Brazilian Olympic team but will be over the age limit next year.

I think players who qualified for this year's tournament will be allowed to participate in 2021. If that's not the case, Brazil will lose some important pieces from the strong side that was eager to try to renew their gold medal earned in 2016.

Jesus will be our Olympic leader this time

If things go according to my expectations then I think Gabriel Jesus could be the Brazilian leader in 2021 after helping Neymar on his 2016 conquest in Rio, scoring three goals throughout the competition.

He was important on that Olympic campaign and now is a regular starter on Brazilian national team and could make the difference in Tokyo alongside with other good players such as Richarlison or Lucas Paquestá - which are also surpassing the limit age - or even Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo from Real Madrid.

Brazil is an eternal favourite in every football competition, but our win in 2016 was the first Olympic gold medal in our history, so this is a traditionally tough tournament for us.

I was close from the gold in 96 but didn't achieve it - like many other great players of the past - so this is a great challenge that not all the players can say they have achieved. But I think we have a strong enough squad to take us to the title this time.

The Olympic team is commanded by André Jardine who I don't know particularly well, but from what I've heard he is a good person and a capable manager that should take this group of players into the latter stages of Tokyo 2021.

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