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.”