Neymar is the natural successor to Lionel Messi according to Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas

Barcelona superstar Neymar is the natural successor to Lionel Messi according to Chelsea midfielder Cesc Fabregas, who has witnessed the duo from up close.

Fabregas played with Neymar for 12 months before coming back to the Premier League with Chelsea. Neymar was not as influential in his first season, but he has improved tremendously in the last 12 months. He is now in a position where he can win the FIFA Ballon d’Or award after being named in the three-man shortlist. The winner of the award will be announced in the second week of January.

Neymar has been scoring around a goal per game. Even then, it is not enough to match the achievements of Messi over the last five years. Messi has an even higher scoring rate, but Fabregas reckons that Neymar will only get better. At 23 years of age, the Brazilian superstar is yet to hit its peak whereas some would say that Messi has already achieved his peak at 28. Neymar came to the Catalan club in 2013 and he had difficulties settling in immediately. After almost three years with the Spanish outfit, he is finally starting to learn the Barcelona style of play.

The injury to Messi, which has kept him out for a couple of months, has only benefited Neymar."Adaptation always takes time but you could already see the natural talent, his love for football and his amazing skills. You could see that he would reach this level sooner or later.I think it will be difficult [for Neymar to reach Messi's level] but when Leo retires from football in a few years, I think Neymar will be the one who reigns," said Fabregas. The Chelsea midfielder recently stated that he would have loved to be part of the Barcelona team right now with its star names like Suarez and Neymar.