Neymar has said that he was too shy to speak to Lionel Messi after arriving at Barcelona in 2013.
The Brazil international star now shares top billing at Camp Nou alongside Messi, but making the step from Santos to Barcelona was harder than it might seem from the outside for Neymar.
In an interview with Brazilian television show Caldeirao do Huck, he explained his nerves at stepping into a star-studded squad.
“I came into the dressing room, looked to one side and there was Messi, I looked the other and there was Xavi [Hernandez], [Andres] Iniesta, [Gerard] Pique, Dani Alves … I thought I was inside a video game,” Neymar said.
“One day I was playing with them on the console and the next I was there alongside them. The first month was the most complicated. I was ashamed to speak to Messi, [he and the others] were idols for me. I was the new arrival and the youngest more or less.”
However Neymar progressed rapidly at Barcelona and has become part of arguably the strongest attacking unit in the world, the MSN, alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.
On Oct. 21 the forward signed a new five-year contract which keeps him at Barcelona until 2021. After signing he explained that while he felt “a little intimidated” at first, he is now good friends with his teammates.
Neymar was one of the guests at Messi’s wedding to Antonella Roccuzzo in Rosario on June 30 before continuing his holiday in Brazil by attending the Villa Mix Goiania festival.
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.