Okocha: Neymar plays for the team

Former Nigeria skipper and PSG midfielder Jay Jay Okocha says Neymar is a team player who is ready to take on the mantle of the world’s best footballer. 

Okocha, who like Neymar was renowned for his exceptional skill and trickery, signed for PSG after starring for Nigeria at the 1998 World Cup in France.

Neymar meanwhile became the Paris club’s latest big-name number 10 when he arrived for a world record fee of $222m from Barcelona last week.

Okocha sees similarities with himself and Neymar in their approach to the game and was quick to point out that the Brazilian is someone who puts the team first.

“I’d say the player whose style most resembles mine would be Neymar. That’s because I played with a sense of joy and you can see that he feels the same and really enjoys his own play,” he told the FIFA website.

“He doesn’t play for himself or just to entertain the fans – he plays for his team. He uses his quality and skill for the good of the team.”

Okocha is confident that Neymar will soon take over from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best player.

“Messi and Ronaldo have dominated world football for a decade and, given the nature of football, at a certain point the baton will have to pass to someone else. I think Neymar has a great chance of filling that role.”

The Nigerian also implored African footballers to do more in order to try and get their names into the very top bracket; those who are nominated for the world’s best player award.

“If you’re talking about the top tier of players internationally, we [African players] don’t consider ourselves good enough to compete at that level.