Neymar must come to Europe to have chance of winning Ballon d'Or, says Blatter
Messi y Neymar / GettyImages
The youngster was not included on the recently-revealed shortlist of finalists for the prize, but 76-year-old Blatter says that the Brazilian wonderkid might have a chance to win it – but that he will first have to move away from his homeland.
“Neymar is outstanding, but it’s difficult for anyone not playing in Europe to be one of the finalists,” Blatter explained to reporters at a press conference in Sao Paolo.
“The standard of football in Brazil is high, but European football is the benchmark of club football right now,” he added, noting that Neymar could be included “if he performs well with Brazil in 2014”.
Selecao legend Ronaldo agreed with the Fifa supremo, praising the youngster for being able to make it on the initial list of nominees in the first place.
“Neymar is on the list of 23 players nominated for the award and that is a great achievement, but I think that to be a finalist he’ll have to play in Europe or have a great World Cup with the national team in 2014.
“Neymar is the biggest star in Brazil, but he isn’t very well known in Europe”, Ronaldo added. “I spoke to him once about the possibility of playing in Europe, in terms of his ambition.
“I told him that to be one of the world’s top players he has to sign for a European club.”
The 20-year-old, who is set to become a vital part of Brazil’s team for the World Cup in 2014. has appeared 27 times for his country so far, scoring 17 goals.