• La Liga

Guardiola backs Messi and Neymar to co-exist

ESPN staff
July 5, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »

Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola is confident Lionel Messi and Neymar will prove a successful partnership at Camp Nou next season.

While doubts have been expressed about the ability of two of the world's most prolific players to work together, Guardiola has no qualms over the signing of Neymar, insisting too much quality can only be a good thing for Barca.

The Spaniard, who took charge of his first match with Bayern Munich last week, believes his former club have a greater chance of defending their title with the Brazil international in their ranks.

"Will Messi and Neymar work okay together? The best player in footballing history together with another superb one? I'm sure that they'll work fine together," he said, according to Marca.

"Barca and the national team have a lot of life in them for quite a few years yet. Barca got 100 points [last season], which is tremendous. Cruyff's ideas continue and the club has some marvellous players."

Guardiola also reflected on Brazil's Confederations Cup win over Spain and was quick to reject claims that it is the beginning of Spain's demise on the world stage.

"One's age is always one's age, but the Spain team still has a great future ahead of it. Spanish football looks after its younger players very well," he added.

The 42-year-old admitted he is still analysing Bayern's playing style but is comfortable he has made the right choice in moving to Germany.

"Why did I choose the Bundesliga? It was Bayern that chose me. And I loved their players and the German organisation of things," he said. "Both players and club are helping me out a lot. They help me with the language. I get a lot of support.

"I'm using my time learning where and how I can play each player at Bayern. I'll continue to carry out tests. We can adopt various playing systems. Playing a '9' or false 9 is a possibility. Both would work well for me.

"The most important thing is the players can get to know me and I the players. I have ideas and have to convince my players of them.

"I don't like it when the opposition team has the ball. I want to have the ball. And we want to make sure we score more goals.

"We can play with recognised strikers and false strikers. It depends also on the physical condition of the players, which system I will choose."

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