Neymar Comments on Pep Guardiola, Future with Barcelona and More

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistJanuary 28, 2016

FC Barcelona’s Neymar holds up the trophy as he celebrates winning the final match against River Plate at the FIFA Club World Cup soccer tournament in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015. FC Barcelona beat River Plate 3-0. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

Barcelona striker Neymar has revealed his desire to play for Pep Guardiola. The Brazilian sensation has also stated how he'd like to play in the United States and even return home before his playing days finish, even though he insists he's happy at Barca.

Neymar was speaking to Kevin Fylan of RedBull.com, and the 23-year-old stated his admiration for Guardiola when asked which coach he'd like to play for: "Yes there is one: Guardiola is a guy that I really admire and who I would love to work with."

Guardiola won two UEFA Champions League trophies during his spell at Barca before taking over at Bayern Munich. Now, the Spaniard is ready to work in the Premier League, according to Sky Sports' Peter Gilbert.

Neymar is keen to work with decorated ex-Barca chief Guardiola.
Neymar is keen to work with decorated ex-Barca chief Guardiola.Michael Sohn/Associated Press

Neymar arrived at the Camp Nou after Guardiola's departure, but he has already enjoyed tremendous success in his own right, and his team won a historic treble of trophies last season.

Understandably, Neymar says he's content to stay in Spain, at least for the moment: "It’s tough to say if I wanna play in other countries… nobody knows [about] tomorrow, but I’m very happy where I am right now, at Barcelona."

But the South American attacker did reveal his future career plans:

I want to go back to Brazil some day and I also would like to play in the United States – those two countries are where I want to play later on my career. The US is a place where the game is growing and attracting the interest of lots of players, who are becoming more and more popular there, so this makes me curious, it makes me interested to see it closely.

Neymar should be comfortable at Barca, where he gets to play alongside world-class strikers Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi. Although he told Fylan this group is the best attack he's played in, Neymar's future has become a talking point recently.

Neymar believes he's playing in the best attack in football.
Neymar believes he's playing in the best attack in football.Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

He has been linked with archrivals Real Madrid, a link Barca vice-president Jordi Mestre recently laughed off, per Spanish publication Marca (h/t Goal's Stefan Coerts).

Away from club football, Neymar discussed his international ambitions, including his belief Brazil can conquer all in 2018: "I believe that Brazil can win the World Cup of 2018. Because it is Brazil, you know… Every competition Brazil takes part in, they will be among the favourites, and we will be among the favourites [in 2018]."

Neymar did call on his nation to undergo better preparations than they undertook for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, a tournament that ended in humiliation when the hosts were humbled 7-1 by eventual winners Germany in the semi-final.

Winning a World Cup would cement Neymar's growing reputation as the next great star of world football, but he insists being considered the best and winning the Ballon d'Or award, currently held by team-mate Messi, isn't on his mind: "I don’t work to be the best player in the world, I work to see my team win every single competition."

Whether he wants it or not, the award seems to be part of Neymar's destiny. He's progressed at a rapid rate during the last two seasons and will only get better as one of the deadliest finishers and most sought-after stars in the game.


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