Xavi wishes Neymar sported the same blaugrana uniform he wears to work and was not a potential roadblock to Barcelona’s chances of conquering next month’s FIFA Club World Cup.
The Santos forward has been incessantly linked with a transfer to Camp Nou or Real Madrid’s Estadio Bernabeu, but he recently committed his future to the reigning Copa Libertadores champions until at least after the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
Xavi believes that decision will not hinder Neymar, 19, from becoming one of the best performers on the planet. “There was a lot of talk about a move to Barcelona or Real Madrid, but he recently renewed his deal with Santos,” said the 31-year-old. “But I still think he will become a great player.
"Neymar is very talented and has amazing ability. He seems like a player destined to make a difference for any side [he plays for].”
Xavi warns against underestimation
Barcelona and Santos will enter the seven-team FIFA Club World Cup in the last four, and though the consensus is that they will meet for the trophy in Yokohama on 18 December, Xavi insists nothing can be taken for granted after Congolese underdogs TP Mazembe Englebert upset Brazilian giants Internacional in last year’s semi-finals.
"It looks like the final could be against Santos, but I am not sure,” said the Spain midfielder. “There are many good teams involved, so it will be difficult. Nowadays it’s very balanced.
“We don’t know much about our rivals,” said the Spain midfielder. “Perhaps we know a little more about Santos, because they’re a famous Brazilian team. But we’ll try and study our next rivals because no team will be easy to beat.
Santos won back-to-back Intercontinental Cups in 1962 and ’63, with a legendary side comprising the likes of Gilmar, Zito, Pepe, Coutinho and Pele. Barcelona became global kings for the first time two years ago, when they came from behind to edge Estudiantes in a thrilling final.