Barcelona's Arthur talks 'Best Player in History' Lionel Messi, Neymar | Eurasia Diary -

25 June, Tuesday

Barcelona's Arthur talks 'Best Player in History' Lionel Messi, Neymar

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Barcelona midfielder Arthur has hailed his team-mate Lionel Messi as the "best player in history" and discussed his friendship with Brazilian compatriot Neymar.

Arthur arrived at the Camp Nou from Gremio in the summer, and he told Globoesporte (h/t Albert Escandell of Sport, via Goal) that Messi has helped him settle in his new surroundings:

"Honestly I didn't expect it. He's a guy I admire and, in my opinion and many other people's, he's the best player in history.

"He gave me a lot of confidence, he helped me in training and in games. If the best player in the world praises you, I think that gives you some extra confidence.

"I am really grateful for his words and the attitude he has with me and everyone else in the dressing room."

As former Barcelona striker Gary Lineker noted, Messi had a sensational year in 2018, even if it was not recognised as it perhaps should have been:

On Sunday, he kicked off 2019 with a goal against Getafe, leaving him one short of an incredible personal milestone:

Messi's efforts in welcoming Arthur to the club seem to have had a positive impact on his performances.

While the 22-year-old is still adapting to a higher standard of play in European football, his showings so far have been encouraging.

Grup 14's Rafael Hernandez has been impressed with him:

Once the team's biggest strength, Barcelona's midfield became an area of concern after club legend Xavi Hernandez departed in 2015.

Arthur is the first player brought in since then who could fit into that mould, and he revealed his attempts to emulate the Spaniard: "I always admired [Xavi]. Everything he did, I tried to do the same. He's a phenomenon. It's much more cerebral than anything else."

Along with Messi, another player to help him acclimatise following his move to Europe is Brazil team-mate Neymar, who left Barca for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

"[It] began with the national team. He's a simple guy, really playful.

"We've got close, he helped me a lot with Brazil. When I came to Barcelona, he called me to do dinner, to do something, to meet up.

"Online I play video games with him. We speak nearly every day. When he plays on my side, he wins, but when he's against me, he loses."

Arthur recently told Mundo Deportivo (h/t Goal) he is "praying" for Neymar to return to the Camp Nou, so they might link up at club level.

While his return is highly unlikely given the costs involved, it seems he too has helped Arthur settle in a new continent.

Contentment off the pitch will give him a platform to succeed on it, and Barcelona will reap the rewards once he has fully adapted to his new surroundings.



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