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Mathieu said Neymar left Barca because he was behind Messi'




Former Barcelona defender Jeremy Mathieu believes Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain in order to escape the shadow of Lionel Messi.


The Brazil star moved to PSG for a world-record €222 million fee in August and has enjoyed a spectacular start to his time in Ligue 1, registering five goals and five assists in six appearances in all competitions.

Neymar said he left Barca to seek a new challenge after four hugely successful years at Camp Nou, while his father and agent admitted he was eager to join a club where he would become the undisputed star.

And Mathieu, who left Barca a month before Neymar's exit, feels the desire to overtake Messi and challenge for his first Ballon d'Or was a key factor behind the 25-year-old's decision.

"At no moment did people think he was going to leave Barca," he told EFE . "But that's football, it's like that... it's his decision.

"My opinion is that he left Barca because he was behind Leo. I think he wants to win the Ballon d'Or and at the moment he's happy in Paris because he's scoring goals."


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