Ney­mar

Australian Four Four Two - - CONTENTS - Ney­mar was talk­ing at the World Fi­nal of his global five-a-side tour­na­ment. To get signed up for 2017, visit www.ney­mar­jrs­five.com

“It’s dif­fi­cult for us to as­sess, be­cause we’re ac­tu­ally liv­ing it,” says Ney­mar, hav­ing just been asked by FourFourTwo whether he and his fel­low mem­bers of Barcelona’s star-stud­ded strike­force (Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez) are ‘mak­ing his­tory’ to­gether. “We’re too close to it all to be fully aware of what we rep­re­sent and the im­pact of

what we do,” he says, be­fore paus­ing for a mo­ment’s quiet re­flec­tion. “But yes, we know we’re mak­ing his­tory,” he adds. Then he bursts into laugh­ter. Be­tween the three of them, ‘MSN’ (Messi, Suarez, Ney­mar) scored 131 goals in all com­pe­ti­tions last sea­son. That’s just 10 fewer than Real Madrid’s en­tire squad could muster, and more than any Premier League squad was able to net dur­ing 2015-16. “I think we’re suc­cess­ful as a trio be­cause of our friendship off the field,” he ex­plains. “That’s the main rea­son MSN works so well, as we’re all re­ally good friends away from foot­ball and we all love play­ing the game to­gether and fight­ing for each other.” And at times they’ve had to fight. Luis En­rique’s side didn’t se­cure last sea­son’s ti­tle un­til a tense fi­nal day. A Luis Suarez hat-trick se­cured a 3-0 win and, fi­nally, top spot. “I def­i­nitely hope it’s not any tighter than last sea­son, be­cause that was a very dif­fi­cult sea­son for us, par­tic­u­larly to­wards the end,” Ney­mar says. “We were do­ing very well and had a good lead, but in the last few rounds we ended up mak­ing some mis­takes. For­tu­nately, we still won the ti­tle – but it was a chal­lenge. “Our aim for the next sea­son is to win all the cham­pi­onships once again. It’s sim­ple. That is the aim we al­ways carry.” Nat­u­rally, then, when FFT asks the Brazil cap­tain who he be­lieves are favourites for the com­ing cam­paign’s Cham­pi­ons League crown, “Barcelona” is the rapid-fire re­sponse, ac­com­pa­nied by a gleeful gig­gle. Of course, af­ter last year’s heartache – Barcelona were beaten at the quar­ter-fi­nal stage by La Liga ri­vals Atletico Madrid, de­spite hav­ing won the first leg at the Camp Nou – Ney­mar knows win­ning the big one is never quite that straight­for­ward. There may be no Mi­lan, Manch­ester United or Chelsea, but there are still ba­nana skins, in­clud­ing two less fa­mil­iar English sides. “They’re both very good teams,” he says of Tot­ten­ham and Premier League cham­pi­ons Le­ices­ter. “The Cham­pi­ons League is al­ways very dif­fi­cult. But we’ll give it our max­i­mum.”

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