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Rio Ferdinand backs Neymar in Lionel Messi's absence

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand backs Neymar to shine at Barcelona in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi.

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has backed Neymar to shine at Barcelona in the absence of the injured Lionel Messi.

Messi is currently sidelined with a knee ligament injury, and Ferdinand thinks that the Brazil international will now take centre stage at Camp Nou in the four-time Ballon d'Or winner's absence.

"He needs to be the [main man at Barcelona] because there is no Messi now for a few weeks," Ferdinand told BT Sport. "He is another guy that wants to be the best [in the world] and he's a star man who wants to be the one everyone looks to.

"He wants to show that he can be the one should anything happen to Messi, God forbid. His record for Barcelona is great, but his record for Brazil is ridiculous and he scores at big times.

"He is an exquisite player, he really is."

Neymar moved to Barca from Santos in the summer of 2012.

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