Former Super Eagles captain, Austin Okocha, has tipped PSG new signing, Neymar Junior, as successor to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Speaking in an interview with FIFA.com ahead of this year’s The Best Awards billed for October 23 in London, Okocha who is arguably one of the most talented African footballers of all time, also compared the Brazilian’s dribbling skills to his. “I think Neymar will be the one to do it.
Messi and Ronaldo have dominated world football for a decade and, given the nature of football, at a certain point the baton will have to pass to someone else.
I think Neymar has a great chance of filling that role,” he said.
“I’d say the player whose style most resembles mine would be Neymar. That’s because I played with a sense of joy and you can see that he feels the same and really enjoys his own play.
He doesn’t play for himself or just to entertain the fans – he plays for his team. He uses his quality and skill for the good of the team,” he said.
On his choice for the recipient of the 2017 award, Okocha said: “I have to be diplomatic here, especially as I’ve a lot of Portuguese friends, but I tend to lean towards Messi.
He’s a more natural talent. Ronaldo is a fantastic player, one of the best I’ve ever seen, but he’s been a bit unfortunate to be of the same generation as Messi.
Consequently, they have to share the limelight.” Okocha who was part of the U-23 Eagles that won gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and graced three successive FIFA World Cups between 1994 and 2002, said African players must strive harder to be among the best in the world.
“It’s hard to name any African player with a chance of being among the final three for The Best FIFA Men’s Player Award.
If you’re talking about the top tier of players internationally, we don’t consider ourselves good enough to compete at that level. We have to change that attitude, and then we’ll be able to produce a player of the stature of the other top guys,” he added.
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