Brazilian Ronaldo Expects Neymar to Be 'Messi's Heir' at Barcelona, Talks Zidane

Joe Gallagher@joesgallagherFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2016

Madrid, SPAIN:  Real Madrid's Brazilian striker Ronaldo celebrate after scoring against Getafe during the Spanish League football match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, 03 December 2005. AFP PHOTO/ Pedro ARMESTRE  (Photo credit should read PEDRO ARMESTRE/AFP/Getty Images)

Ex-Brazil and Real Madrid striker Ronaldo has heaped praise on 24-year-old Barcelona superstar Neymar.

The 39-year-old, who also played for Barcelona and Inter Milan, said his compatriot reminded him of himself.

"I like Neymar a lot. He is a bit like me," he told Calciomercato (via "He had some difficulties in getting used to his new environment at first, but I knew that he was going to succeed."

Ronaldo anticipates Neymar to be the successor to five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi at Camp Nou.

VALENCIA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 07:  Lionel Messi of Barcelona talks with team mate Neymar JR (R) during the La Liga match between Levante UD and FC Barcelona at Ciutat de Valencia on February 07, 2016 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/G
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

"Can he be Messi's heir? Yes, he has everything he needs to become as strong as him."

Ronaldo also spoke about the fortunes of his old club Madrid, who are now managed by his former team-mate Zinedine Zidane.

"Everybody knows that Zizou is a great friend," he said. "I really hope that he will have a great career as a coach too. He's the best player with whom I have ever played with. We had a lot of fun on the pitch."

He's expecting big things from Los Blancos under the legendary Frenchman.

MADRID, Spain:  Real Madrid's French midfielder Zinedine Zidane and his teammate Ronaldo congratulate each other after a goal during their Champions League quarter-final first leg football match against Monaco, 24 March 2004 at the Santiago Bernabeu stadi

"Could this be Real Madrid's year? Yes, they must focus on the Champions League, they have everything to succeed," he insisted. "Winning at Roma was very important for Zidane."

The La Liga giants are both in action this weekend, with Barcelona travelling to Las Palmas on Saturday afternoon and Real Madrid visiting Malaga on Sunday.