The top-rated 19-year-old, who has been at the centre of a debate over whether he is better than Barcelona ace Messi, said the reigning FIFA Ballon d'Or winner was superior "at the moment".
"I do believe Messi is the best player at the moment," the talented Santos striker told a packed press conference in Japan after jetting in for the FIFA Club World Cup, where he could come face-to-face with Messi in the final.
"He's the one and only, he's the king of football," said Neymar, sporting his trademark blond mohawk. "To reach his level is something I don't think I can do."
Neymar, who last month signed a two-year contract extension with the South American champions, said he had nothing to prove at this month's tournament.
"For me, I'm not trying to prove anything here," the Brazilian international said. "I'm here to contribute to the team and win the title."
He also admitted that he had been taken aback by the adulation he had received in Japan. "I'm on the other side of the globe but so many people seem to know me and love me," the striker added.