Lionel Messi Wants Neymar Showdown in Argentina vs. Brazil World Cup Final

Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2014

Barcelona's Neymar, left, celebrates with teammate Lionel Messi after scoring his side's first goal during a first leg quarterfinal Champions League soccer match between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday April 1, 2014. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)
Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Argentina superstar Lionel Messi has declared he wants a World Cup final meeting with Barcelona team-mate Neymar. reports that the legendary footballer wants to right the wrongs of his previous international tournaments and take his country to a famous victory on Brazilian soil.

Messi eulogised the buzz around the Argentina camp at present and spoke about the lengths he is prepared to go to win this summer.

He said, per

We're really up for it. I think I've learned from what I did wrong at previous tournaments so I won't make the same mistakes again. There's no doubt people are buzzing: we have a very solid group of players and haven't lost for a while.

[On the pitch] I'm a completely different person to who I am at home. I like winning and if I have to fight or argue my way to victory, I'll do it.

About the final, he added: "Hopefully I can face Neymar in it, but if not him, I'd be happy to take on any other team."

Felipe Dana/Associated Press

Neymar is undoubtedly the face of the 2014 World Cup. Much pressure has been placed on his young shoulders for his first tournament in the spotlight.

Messi, on the other hand, has been here twice before, but he has completely underwhelmed. He will be hoping that his experience will now carry him and his country to greater things than in recent years.

Both players suffered an indifferent season in their club careers, with Barca failing to win major silverware in 2013-14.

Andre Penner/Associated Press

However, they both posted excellent statistics.

In 39 appearances, Neymar hit 15 goals and 11 assists in his first campaign in the Spanish league and Europe, per

In any other season, this would have been considered a good return but for Barcelona falling short of their lofty expectations. 

In fact, his figures are not far short of Gareth Bale's numbers in his first year at Real Madrid. The Welshman scored 21 goals and created 16 assists, per, but all importantly won the Champions League to top it off. 

Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

Messi has suffered more criticism in the previous 12 months than at any other time during his career. However, 28 goals in 31 La Liga matches, per Squawka, prove that there is very little wrong with the little wizard's overall form and contribution.

Both Argentina and Brazil are the favourites with the bookies to win the World Cup, with most other nations way behind them in the numbers.

The Selecao are the favourites at 3-to-1, with Argentina shortening at 17-to-4, per

Brazilian legend Zico believes Messi and company could win the big prize in Brazil this summer but thinks they may miss the talent of Carlos Tevez.

He said in The Guardian:

I am, however, really surprised that Sabella did not call up Carlos Tevez. He has been a champion pretty much wherever he has gone and has had a great season with Juventus. I would have taken him but in the end it is clearly the manager’s choice and the fact is that Argentina are a very dangerous team that can win the World Cup.

Victor R. Caivano/Associated Press

The race between Argentina and Brazil will be a fascinating one in the next few weeks and it is impossible to call before the group stages are played. It feels like destiny is calling Messi and if he wishes to eclipse Pele and Diego Maradona, he must win a World Cup to complete his CV.

Neymar will get future World Cups to stake his claim as a world great and at present the pressure may be too much for the 22-year-old. In any case, if Brazil face Argentina in the final, the Barcelona rivalry will undoubtedly get hyped as the Neymar vs. Messi show.