Neymar rooting for Messi to win

ByESPN staff ESPN logo
Sunday, July 13, 2014

Argentina may be Brazil's biggest rivals, but that won't stop Neymar from supporting his Barcelona teammates to win the World Cup in Sunday's final.

Brazil's injured star said he hopes Lionel Messi can win the World Cup -- but that doesn't necessarily mean he is a fan of Argentina.

"I am not supporting Argentina, but my teammates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano," he said. "I support Messi FC and for everything he represents to football I hope he can win."

Neymar moved to Spain to join Barcelona last summer and struck up a friendship with his fellow South American.

He has no club teammates on Germany's World Cup squad, though Barcelona's newly acquired goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has previously earned four caps for Die Mannschaft.

Messi's performance will be key for Argentina to overcome the favoured Germans. Though he failed to touch the ball in the Netherlands' penalty area in the semifinals, Messi will face up against perhaps Germany's weakest link, left-back Benedikt Howedes.

Normally a centre-back, Howedes has been used on the left by coach Joachim Low during the tournament and is likely to be assigned to keeping up with Messi's runs on the right wing.

"I'll do my part, but it will be a collective effort. That's how even a player of such quality can be stopped," Howedes said on Thursday.

Also on Thursday, Neymar said the injury that ruled him out of the tournament robbed him of his "destiny" to win the World Cup at home in Brazil. He also rejected his agent's statements calling for Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari to be fired.

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