‘Neymar has made us forget Messi’

Former Barcelona and Real Madrid striker Alfonso Perez believes Neymar has made people “forget” about Lionel Messi.

Neymar has scored 10 goals since Messi ruptured a knee ligament against Las Palmas on September 21, and Alfonso – who represented both Clasico clubs and played 38 times for Spain between 1992 and 2000 – has been hugely impressed by the No 11’s impact.

“We’ve been very spoiled by [Cristiano Ronaldo],” he told Marca.

“Just because he hasn’t been plugged in [for the last two weeks], we’re talking about a crisis. It’s not fair.

“The injury [to Messi] has shown that Neymar and [Luis] Suarez are able to carry the team on their backs.

“Neymar’s making even more of a difference. It seemed that the absence of Messi could undermine Barca, but Neymar, at the level he’s shown, has made people forget about Messi.

“[Luis Enrique] was a phenomenon, very nice guy and very professional.

“He gave great performances for Barcelona, ​​Real Madrid and the national team and had a good character and great temperament.

“[On whether he thought Enrique would become a Coach], no. At that time, no-one thought he or [Pep] Guardiola would.

“Coaching didn’t go through any of our heads. You don’t think about becoming a Coach until when you retire.

“[On if Enrique is extra-motivated to face Madrid], of course. That’s his character.

“He was a great competitor [as a player]. He had strength, motivation and fight, wasn’t cold, fought and ran for every ball and had a temper.”

Tags Alfonso Alfonso Perez Lionel Messi Luis Enrique Neymar