Luis Garcia: Neymar could replace Messi as Barcelona's star


Former Barcelona striker Luis Garcia believes Neymar could be ready to replace Lionel Messi as the main main at Camp Nou in the near future.

Garcia, who began his career at the Catalan club, also believes Brazil international Neymar is "happy" at Barcelona and will not seek a move away.

Neymar missed Brazil's 2-2 draw against Paraguay on Tuesday through suspension but he is expected start alongside Messi and Luis Suarez in Saturday's Clasico, with Barcelona nine points clear at the top of La Liga.

Despite constant speculation about the future of Brazil's captain, Garcia does not think Neymar will be looking to leave Barcelona.

"He is happy at Barcelona, I think we can see that, he just signed a new deal until 2021 and he knows that Messi right now is 27, 28," Garcia told Omnisport. 

"In a couple, maybe three years, maybe Neymar is going to be the star. I doubt it, but it is possible. He's got all the light on him also, everybody is looking at those three.

"It's not that he is in the shadow of Messi or in the shadow of Luis Suarez, he's got the importance to the team, they know he is a key player for Barcelona.

"I think the supporters and the coach give him that importance into the team, so that's why he is so happy."

Garcia added Barca have the momentum going into the Clasico and, if Luis Enrique's side win the game, he believes the La Liga title race will be "done".

He said: "[Barcelona] are a team that right now has the momentum in the league, so Real have to fight against that and that's a lot of pressure for the players. Real Madrid have got probably some of the best players in the world, they are a quality team.

"But when you have that moment when you have to change the manager and a new manager comes in, the situation is not very good. You don't get the squad that you expected and you get in that circle of doubt and you see your opponent is going and going and they keep on going, imagine the frustration of the players.

"Real have had a few injuries that didn't help them, so right now is a very difficult moment for Real Madrid. For Barcelona, if they get the three points the lead is going to be more like 15 points probably, then the league will be done."

The stability of Barcelona compared to Real Madrid can explain their current success, Garcia said, with Enrique leading the club to six trophies last season.

"The difficult thing for Real Madrid this year is that in front Barcelona have got a team that was build up five, six, seven years ago and they have changed two or three players and they have brought two more players in the same quality, the same way to play," Garcia said. 

"Barcelona know perfectly what they are playing for. After Pep Guardiola, Luis Enrique arrived and suddenly we saw even a better team, if it was possible, with faster movement, faster counter-attack, with three at the front who are unbelievable."