11 October 2017
Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar was delighted for his former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi, who fired Argentina to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia with a hat-trick in a 3 – 1 win over Ecuador.
Neymar and Messi spent four seasons together at Camp Nou before the Brazil forward joined Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, becoming the world’s most expensive player in the process, but any suspicions of ill-feeling between two of the game’s leading lights look to be ill-founded.
“I’m happy for him,” Neymar said after Argentina leapt from sixth to third in the CONMEBOL section to join Brazil, Edinson Cavani’s Uruguay and Colombia in automatic qualification to next summer’s showpiece in Russia.
“I’m happy to see a friend participate in such an important competition. I also have friends in the Chile team but we’re men. We have to play to win every game.”
Brazil, who also boast Neymar’s PSG teammates Thiago Silva, Dani Alves and Marquinhos in their squad, as well as AS Monaco pair, Jemerson and Jorge, ended Chile’s hopes with a 3 – 0 win in Sao Paulo, with Neymar assisting Gabriel Jesus’ goal for 2 – 0.
Brazil qualified ten points clear. Neymar will now aim to stretch PSG’s three-point lead on Monaco at the top of Ligue 1 Conforama, with Dijon FCO next up for the capital club on Saturday evening.