Barcelona star Arthur has reveals that Brazil teammate Neymar made a point of coming to see him for dinner when he was last in the city, admitting that he and the Paris Saint-Germain forward are ‘close’ friends.
Arthur arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer, amid rumours that his countryman could return from France to rejoin the Catalan side sooner rather than later if Champions League and individual glory continue to elude him in the French capital.
Speaking to Globo Esporte, the midfielder – hailed by some as Xavi’s natural replacement in Ernesto Valverde’s side – said: “He’s a very simple guy, very playful. We have become very close, he helped me a lot in the national team. When he came to Barcelona he called me for dinner, to do something ourselves. I always play video games with him online – we talk almost every day. When he plays on my side he wins, but when he plays against me, he loses.”
He also spoke about his relationship with Lionel Messi, whom he described as the ‘best player ever’, admitting: “I really did not expect it. He’s a guy I admire, and in my opinion and that of many, he is the best player ever.
“I think that gave me a lot of confidence, help me during training and in matches. If the best player in the world praises you, I think it gives you extra confidence, so I’m very grateful for the words and attitude he has with me and everyone in the dressing room.”
Arthur was the first player to pick up Andres Iniesta’s recently vacated number eight shirt after the Spain legend ended his 22-year association with the club in the summer, and explained: “Honestly, the most important was the badge, right? But it has a special flavour you wear your idol’s shirt.
“At first they had let me choose, I didn’t mind. Then came new players and…nobody chose eight. Then I said: ‘You know what? I think it does not cost anything to ask, right?’ I chose eight and I was very happy to use his number, my idol, and I hope I can honor the shirt that gave so much joy to the Barça supporters.”