Dani Alves: 'Neymar had to leave Barcelona'

Alves: 'Neymar had to leave Barcelona'
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Paris Saint-Germain full-back Dani Alves claims that Neymar was right to join the club from Barcelona last summer in his pursuit of a first Ballon d'Or crown.

Dani Alves has backed Neymar's decision to quit Barcelona last summer, insisting that his Paris Saint-Germain teammate simply had to step out of Lionel Messi's shadow.

The Brazilian forward surprised many in August by linking up with the Parisian moneybags after his mammoth £198m release clause was triggered.

Many put Neymar's decision to leave Camp Nou down to a desire to prove his worth elsewhere and win a first Ballon d'Or, which has been dominated by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo over the past decade.

Having already contributed 26 goals and 14 assists in 24 appearances for PSG, Alves believes that his compatriot made the right choice.

"I think he's up there with Messi as the most influential player in world football," he told FIFA's official website. "The thing is, he had to come out of his shadow a little.

"Playing with someone as unique as Leo is the most incredible thing that can happen to you, but there's always that doubt in your mind if it's you that really has the quality or if it's him. I always loved playing with him, but he's Argentinian and Neymar and I are Brazilians.

"Sooner or later we had to come up against each other. I think you've got a better chance of achieving things individually when you're not so close to a player like him. It was important for Ney's own development and for Brazil for him to follow his own path."

Alves departed Barcelona in 2016 after an eight-year stay at the club, taking in spells with Juventus and now PSG.

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Neymar in action for Paris Saint-Germain on November 22, 2017
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