Mathieu: I think Neymar left Barca because he was in the shadow of Messi

In a brief inter­view with EFE, for­mer FC Barcelona defend­er Jere­my Math­ieu spoke about his for­mer club, team­mates as well as com­par­ing the two best play­ers in the world. He also opened up on Paulinho’s trans­fer to Barcelona. The French Inter­na­tion­al who’s now a play­er of Sport­ing CP will face Barcelona in the Cham­pi­ons League Group stage.

On Mes­si or Ney­mar: “Mes­si.”

On Neymar’s Depar­ture: No one thought he was going to leave Barcelona. But that’s foot­ball for you, it hap­pens that way and it was his deci­sion to make. But in the end, I think he left Bar­ca because he was in the shad­ow of Mes­si. It’s his wish to win the Bal­lon d’Or, he’s hap­py where he is and he’s help­ing his team win games which is good for him.

On Mes­si or Cris­tiano Ronal­do: I don’t per­son­al­ly know Cris­tiano Ronal­do but in the game of foot­ball they have their own dif­fer­ent play­ing style. I know Leo and I know he’s one of the very best in the game.

On Paulin­ho: I also don’t know him in per­son, but for Bar­ca to sign a play­er it means he deserves it. He scored a crit­i­cal goal against Getafe.

On his team against Barcelona: As the match draws near, I’ll speak to my for­mer team­mates and I’ll joke with them. We all know they’re one of the most dif­fi­cult side to play against but we will try to win the game just like we try to win oth­ers. There may be com­pli­ca­tions but we will give our best in the game.

On tough­est attack­er to mark: A lot of tough attack­ers, but in train­ing Luis Suarez is very hard to mark. If I will play in the game it means I’ll play against him. He’s a lit­tle like Fal­cao, dif­fi­cult to defend against and also strong with his back.

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