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Neymar jokes that his friendship with Messi is ‘on the line’ ahead of Copa America final

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The two will meet in Brazil on Saturday

International Champions Cup El Clásico match FC Barcelona v Real Madrid Photo by Ira L. Black/Corbis via Getty Images

We’re finally getting the South American matchup of our dreams. The Copa America final this weekend will feature Argentina and Brazil. That matchup features a battle of many top players, but two stars that are of particular interest to Barcelona fans.

Since Neymar left Barcelona a few years ago, he hasn’t shared a pitch with Lionel Messi. That ends this weekend when Brazil takes on Argentina. Neymar joked in an interview this week that his close friendship with Messi would be at risk in the matchup.

“Messi is, as I’ve always said, the best player I’ve ever seen play and he’s a great friend, but now we’re in a final, we’re rivals. I want to win and I really want to win this title, which would be my first Copa America.

“Messi has been looking for his first title with the national team for many years, and every time we [Brazil] are not present at the tournament, I cheered for him. That’s what I’ve been cheering for in the 2014 World Cup final, when he faced Germany.

“Now Brazil is in the dispute, so our friendship is on the line. The respect between us is still great but only one can win.

“When you’re friends with someone, it’s hard to forget the friendship you have - but for example when you play video games with a friend, you want to beat him anyway. It’ll be the same thing on Saturday.”

Neymar | Source

Brazil have home advantage and will be favorites to retain the title, but Messi has been in superb form at the tournament and will be desperate to pick up a first senior international trophy with Argentina.