• La Liga

'Neymar ahead of Bale'

ESPN staff
October 12, 2013
Neymar has been criticised for his play-acting since moving to Barcelona © Getty Images

Adriano Correia says Barcelona team-mate Neymar deserves to be rated ahead of Real Madrid's Gareth Bale.

The two big-money arrivals in La Liga have had contrasting starts in Spain, with Neymar settling quickly at the Camp Nou following his €65 million move from Santos, and fitness issues continuing to hamper Bale following his €100m euro transfer from Tottenham.

Adriano told Cadena Ser that, for him, there was no debate over who was currently the better player.

"Neymar is ahead of Bale, for what he has done in football, for what he is in Brazil, and for what he is doing at Barca," the Brazilian said.

Neymar now has three goals and six assists in his first 11 games for Barca, but the main focus from some quarters has been on his alleged regular diving. Adriano said he felt that was unfair.

"[Neymar] is not an actor, he does not dive - people are looking for it because they know it from Brazil," he said. "There have been fouls where he has gone down, but also fouls and penalties that should have been given but were not."

Adriano feels the 21-year-old is already building a strong understanding with Lionel Messi.

"Their relationship is really good, better each day," he said. "[Neymar] is adapting very well to the team and to Leo's style. They could become the best attacking partnership in football."

Messi's current injury issues were unfortunate, Adriano said, but should have cleared up by the time Madrid visit the Camp Nou on October 26.

"It is a pity, but this international break has been well-timed for the club," he said. "We hope he can return quickly and so would be nice and ready for the 'Clasico'."

The Coritiba-born player, who has 18 Brazil caps but is not currently in national boss Phil Scolari's plans, said he thought Atletico Madrid forward Diego Costa's controversial decision to switch to Spain appeared to be down to frustration at not being called by his home country.

"If it is what he wants then I understand, but maybe he is a bit angry because he was not chosen by Brazil," Adriano said. "If Brazil call him, I believe he would like to go with them."

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