Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi’s successor named by Unai Emery

The former Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain boss has backed a forward he previously coached to “take over” as the world’s best player from superstars Ronaldo and Messi

Unai Emery has identified the star who will “take over” from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the world’s best player.

Messi and Ronaldo have dominated European football for over a decade, winning 11 of the last 12 Ballon d’Or awards between them.

But the duo’s time at top of the game is slowly coming to an end and Emery has identified a player he previously coached as the heir to the title of best in the world.

The Spaniard has managed at Sevilla and Arsenal, where he was sacked last November after a poor run of form, but the player he has named as Messi and Ronaldo’s successor comes from his time as Paris Saint-Germain boss.

And that star is Brazil icon Neymar, who worked with Emery at Parc des Princes after joining PSG from Barcelona in a world-record £198m transfer in 2017.

Emery discussed his “magnificent” season in charge of Neymar and insists that the forward has the ability to become the best player in the world.

“The year I was with him [Neymar] was magnificent,” Emery told Spanish newspaper Marca. “I learned a lot from seeing his answers in each training session and in the matches.

“Neymar has football inside, but also the faculties and the conditions to execute it. I think he is facing the opportunity to take over from Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to be the best player in the world, and he has time to do it.”

Neymar is seven years younger than Ronaldo and four years younger than Messi at 28 years old and has enjoyed a glittering career so far.

He won seven titles with Barcelona before moving to France and has won three Ligue 1 titles in a row after it was announced that PSG would be awarded this season’s title despite the campaign being cancelled in the week.

During their season together, Emery and Neymar won the domestic treble but the Spaniard left his role at the end of the campaign.

Valeriy Fursov