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Neymar claims friendship with Lionel Messi is ‘on the line’ in Copa America final

Paris Saint-Germain winger Neymar has confessed that his friendship with Lionel Messi will be on the line when Brazil face Argentina in the Copa America 2021 final on Sunday.

The pair, who remain very close from their mutual time at Barcelona, will come-head-to-head in the Sunday’s final, where Brazil are looking to retain their crown and Argentina want to get their hands on the prize for the first time since 1993.

Lionel Messi, Neymar Jr.

Neymar & Messi are close from their time at Barcelona / David Ramos/Getty Images

For Messi, the game represents a chance to finally win some major silverware with his country, but Neymar stressed he is ready to put friendship aside in the hope of handing Messi yet another defeat on the international stage.

“Messi is, as I’ve always said, the best player I’ve ever seen play and he’s a great friend, but now we’re in a final, we’re rivals,” he said (via Goal). “I want to win and I really want to win this title, which would be my first Copa America.

“Messi has been looking for his first title with the national team for many years, and every time we [Brazil] are not present at the tournament, I cheered for him. That’s what I’ve been cheering for in the 2014 World Cup final, when he faced Germany.

“Now Brazil is in the dispute, so our friendship is on the line. The respect between us is still great but only one can win.

“When you’re friends with someone, it’s hard to forget the friendship you have – but for example when you play video games with a friend, you want to beat him anyway.”

Now, this might just sound like a bit of playful banter between friends, but Neymar took things one step further by taking to Instagram to tell any Brazilians supporting Messi to ‘go f**k themselves’. Charming.

Lionel Messi

Messi is looking to finally win a trophy with Argentina / Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images

“I’m Brazilian with lots of pride and love,” he wrote. “My dream was always to be in the national team and hear the fans chanting.

“Never have I, nor will I ever, support any other team if Brazil is competing in something, whether it be in sport, modelling, the Oscars, contests or any of that s**t. If there’s Brazil, I’m supporting Brazil.

“You think anyone who is also Brazilian should be any different? Ok, I’ll respect it, but go f**k yourselves.”

For more from ​Tom Gott, follow him on ​Twitter!

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