“When the best in the world praises you, it gives you extra confidence,” says Arthur Melo

Coutinho, Messi, and Arthur

Coutinho, Messi, and Arthur

What’s the story?
Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo has opened up about what it is like to have a player of Lionel Messi’s calibre in the squad, while also talking about his relationship with former Blaugrana star Neymar Jr.

In case you didn’t know…
Arthur joined Barcelona from Gremio this past summer. The Brazilian has so far made 20 appearances for the Catalan giants.

Since his arrival, the 22-year-old has established himself as a regular in the team’s midfield, with fans comparing him to a younger Xavi. The Brazil international also shares a close friendship with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, even spending the Christmas break with his compatriot.

The heart of the matter
Arthur has credited his assimilation into the team to his captain, Messi, who he believes has given him the confidence to be himself at such a big club.

Speaking to Globoesporte (via Sport English), the midfielder said, “Honestly I didn’t expect it. He’s a guy I admire and, in my opinion and many other people’s, he’s the best player in history.”

“He gave me a lot of confidence, he helped me in training and in games. If the best player in the world praises you, I think that gives you some extra confidence. I am really grateful for his words and the attitude he has with me and everyone else in the dressing room,” said Arthur.

The 22-year-old also opened up about his friendship with Neymar and how he helped to ease his way into the Brazil and Barcelona team.

“[It] began with the national team. He’s a simple guy, really playful. We’ve got close, he helped me a lot with Brazil. When I came to Barcelona, called me to do dinner, to do something, to meet up.

“Online, I play video games with him. We speak nearly every day. When he plays on my side, he wins, but when he’s against me, he loses.”

What’s next?
Barcelona are currently at the top of the La Liga table and will temporarily shift their focus to the Copa del Rey clash with Levante on Thursday.

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