• ‘Neymar’s moment will happen, it didn't happen this time, but the next time, for sure, he is very important for world football today’ – says Cafu
  • Brazilian giant applauds Barcelona’s Nomination for Laureus Team Award
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RIO DE JANEIRO, April 5, 2016 – Brazilian star Neymar should remain at FC Barcelona and he will take over from Lionel Messi as the best player in the world, says Laureus World Sports Academy Member and football legend Cafu.

In an interview with, Cafu said:I hope that he can continue at Barcelona. Barcelona is a team that supports him, it’s a team that provides him with structure to help him continue to shine.”

Neymar was beaten by Messi for the Ballon d’Or and has not been nominated for this year’s Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award, unlike Messi, but Cafu believes it is only a matter of time before he becomes the world’s best.

Neymar’s moment will happen, it didn't happen this time, but the next time, for sure, Neymar will increase his advantage over the others. Each player becomes the best in the world in their own time. He is very important for world football today, the way football should be played, content and happy. He could become one of the world’s best football idols,” said Cafu.

Cafu, the only player to appear in four consecutive World Cups and three straight World Cup Finals, also believes that if Neymar plays in the Olympic Games, Brazil could win a medal. “He is the most important player in the Brazilian team. I think he should play. If he does, we will be able to win an Olympic medal. We have never won an Olympic Games and for that reason it will be important for us. Independent of whether we won or lost the 2014 World Cup, the Olympics will be important for us to create more credibility.”

But Cafu does not believe it will take away the pain of the infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany in the 2014 World Cup semi-final. “That will stay for the rest of our lives, whenever anyone talks about Brazil they always mention the World Cup and being beaten by Germany. There is no way of escaping that,” said Cafu.

Messi is nominated for the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year Award along with Usain Bolt, Stephen Curry, Novak Djokovic, Lewis Hamilton and Jordan Spieth. The winner will be revealed in Berlin on April 18.

Messi’s club FC Barcelona are also nominated for the Laureus World Team of the Year Award and Cafu feels they will be strong contenders. Barcelona are playing really well, playing fantastic football, playing elegant football, they deserve to win.”

Cafu is a member of the Laureus World Sports Academy, an elite group of more than 50 sporting legends, who support the work of Laureus Sport for Good in helping to improve the lives of millions of young people, through the use of sport in underprivileged areas.

Cafu said: “It’s fantastic to be part of the Laureus Academy. I feel honoured. The first Laureus Patron Nelson Mandela said ‘Sport has the power to change the world?’ These are my words too; this thing called sport, or football. Sport in general really does change the world and people.”

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Laureus is a universal movement that celebrates the power of sport to bring people together as a force for good. Laureus is composed of three core elements - the Laureus World Sports Academy, Laureus Sport for Good and the Laureus World Sports Awards - which collectively celebrate sporting excellence and use sport as the means to promote social change. The first Patron of Laureus was Nelson Mandela. At the inaugural Laureus World Sports Awards in 2000, he said: “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.” This has become the philosophy of Laureus; the driving force behind its work. The members of the Laureus World Sports Academy are: Giacomo Agostini, Marcus Allen, Franz Beckenbauer, Boris Becker, Ian Botham, Sergey Bubka, Cafu, Bobby Charlton, Sebastian Coe, Nadia Comaneci, Yaping Deng, Marcel Desailly, Kapil Dev, Mick Doohan, David Douillet, Rahul Dravid, Luis Figo, Emerson Fittipaldi, Sean Fitzpatrick (Chairman), Dawn Fraser, Cathy Freeman, Tanni Grey-Thompson, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Mika Häkkinen, Tony Hawk, Maria Höfl-Riesch, Mike Horn, Miguel Indurain, Michael Johnson, Kip Keino, Franz Klammer, Tegla Loroupe, Dan Marino, Yao Ming, Edwin Moses, Nawal El Moutawakel, Li Na, Robby Naish, Ilie Nastase, Martina Navratilova, Alexey Nemov, Jack Nicklaus, Brian O’Driscoll, Alessandro Del Piero, Gary Player, Morné du Plessis, Hugo Porta, Carles Puyol, Raúl, Steve Redgrave, Vivian Richards, Monica Seles, Mark Spitz, Sachin Tendulkar, Daley Thompson, Alberto Tomba, Steve Waugh, Katarina Witt, Li Xiaopeng and Yang Yang. The Laureus Academy Members volunteer their services as global ambassadors for Laureus Sport for Good, which was set up to promote the use of sport as a tool for social change. Laureus Sport for Good addresses social challenges through a worldwide programme of sports related community development initiatives. Since its inception, Laureus has raised over €100 million for projects which have helped to improve the lives of millions of young people. The mission of Laureus Sport for Good is to use sport as a means to combat some of the toughest social challenges facing young people today such as violence and crime, discrimination, unemployment, lack of education and health threats including HIV/AIDS and obesity. The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sports awards honouring the greatest sportsmen and women across all sports each year. The winners are selected by the ultimate sports jury – 60 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, the living legends of sport honouring the great athletes of today. The Awards are presented at an annual Awards Ceremony, attended by global figures from sport and entertainment, which is broadcast to 160 countries and territories. The Awards continue to support Laureus Sport for Good by showcasing the incredible work it does with athletes and partners to transform the lives of individuals and promoting to a global audience the power of sport as a development tool to combat challenging social issues. Laureus was founded by its Patrons Richemont and Daimler and is supported by its Global Partners Mercedes-Benz and IWC Schaffhausen. Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz is the inventor of the automobile – and has been passionately shaping its future since 1886. As pioneers in automotive engineering, it is both our inspiration and responsibility to continue the tradition of the brand with trailblazing technologies and high-quality products. Like no other trademark in the automotive world, Mercedes-Benz appeals to both the hearts and minds of its customers. We give our very best for customers who expect the very best. Since the founding fathers Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, our corporate history has been one of innovation and pioneering achievements. Many technical innovations that are nowadays standard in automobiles first entered the market in a Mercedes-Benz. This is the basis for our claim to leadership in automotive engineering. The brand stands for Modern Luxury, and enjoys an outstanding reputation for quality, safety, comfort, design and comprehensive, sustainable mobility. IWC SchaffhausenWith a clear focus on technology and development, the Swiss watch manufacturer IWC Schaffhausen has been producing timepieces of lasting value since 1868. The company has gained an international reputation based on a passion for innovative solutions and technical ingenuity. One of the world’s leading brands in the luxury watch segment, IWC crafts masterpieces of haute horlogerie at their finest, combining supreme precision with exclusive design. As an ecologically and socially responsible company, IWC is committed to sustainable production, supports institutions around the globe in their work with children and young people and maintains partnerships with organisations dedicated to climate and environmental protection.