Paris Saint-Germain teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. are the favorites to help lead their respective national teams to glory as the 2022 FIFA World Cup gets going on Sunday.
Argentina and Brazil are expected to get out of the group stage, but the only way the two nations can face off against one another is if both teams reach the final (or third-place game) since they’re on the opposite ends of the knockout stage bracket.
Nonetheless, with the two South American nations going into the tournament as the favorite, a possible matchup in the final is a real possibility. In an interview with The Telegraph, Neymar spoke about facing his teammate in Qatar.
“Obviously, everyone has high hopes for the World Cup and they are not anxious but excited. Everyone wants to be in the World Cup. We don’t talk about it much, but sometimes we joke about bumping into each other in the final,” Neymar said.
“I tell him (to Messi) that I will be champion and I will beat him and we laugh a lot. Playing with him and Kylian is an enormous pleasure. They are two greats, with Messi considered for a long time the best in the world.”
Both PSG players face enormous amounts of pressure heading into the World Cup. This competition will be Messi’s last, so he wants the storybook ending to capping off his international career with the trophy that has long eluded him.
Meanwhile, Neymar wants to be the player that helps Brazil snap their 20-year World Cup drought. One of these two outcomes will be possible; there’s also the reality that both fail and head back to Paris with two heartbreaks.
It will be interesting to see which of the three occurs over the next month.