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Edmilson hoping Neymar follows Messi, not Ronaldinho

Neymar should take inspiration from Lionel Messi and not follow in the footsteps of Ronaldinho, according to former Brazil international Edmilson.

The 23-year-old Barcelona forward has been urged to replicate his Argentine team-mates’ professionalism and development to ensure he reaches his potential.

Edmilson believes five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi is the perfect leader for Neymar, but expects the Brazil captain to take over his mantel as Barca’s star player when the 28-year-old eventually retires.

"Ronaldinho followed an erratic path, perhaps he had no one to advise him off the field," the retired defender told Caneda Ser.

"I hope [Neymar] follows the path of Messi, in the sense that [he should] grow every year and be the best for 10 years. 

"To reach the level of Ronaldinho, he has to enhance his decisiveness in big games. Ney is much like Ronaldinho, very cheerful, always happy.

Edmilson also rubbished talk that Neymar will join Real Madrid when his deal expires at the Camp Nou.

"Neymar has won five titles and that marks you at the club for the rest of his life. His dream was Barcelona, he chose it over offers from other teams, he would not leave the club for Madrid.

"I have no doubt, I know Ney and his father, they do not see him going to Madrid. He would. It would break the story he is writing here.

"Neymar is still young but is excited about being the number one, and Brazilians are proud to have Neymar playing at this level. I am very pleased."