By Robbie Blakeley, Contributing Sports Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Lionel Messi eclipsed Neymar yesterday morning as European champions Barcelona waltzed to a 4-0 thrashing of Santos in Yokohama, Japan. In front of over 70,000 fans, the Brazilian Copa Libertadores holders were left chasing shadows as Santos coach Muricy Ramalho described the Catalans as “invincible.”
Neymar, who prior to the match was touted as Santos’ great hope against Messi & Co, was lost for words at the final whistle after being left so convincingly in Messi’s wake.
“It’s impossible to stop Barcelona,” the nineteen year-old said. The teenage sensation barely got a look in as his Argentine rival ran riot.
Messi put Barça ahead after seventeen minutes, deftly chipping over Rafael after an exquisite pass from Xavi.
And creator turned scorer seven minutes later to double the Spanish side’s advantage as they threatened to run riot against their shell shocked opponents.
Cesc Fabregas scored the third on the stroke of half-time, before Messi finished off the rout eight minutes from the end.
Santos, who won their third Libertadores crown this year, simply had no answer to Barça’s pass-and-move midfield and predatory prowess.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (age 19), known simply as Neymar or Neymar Jr., plays as a forward for Santos and the Brazilian Seleção (national football team). While Santos only finished tenth in this year’s 2011 Brasileirão, Neymar remains a star, perhaps the biggest for Brazil going into the 2014 World Cup.
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