Deco has outlined his belief that Neymar is a superior player to Robert Lewandowski ahead of Sunday’s eagerly-anticipated Champions League final.
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and Bayern Munich forward Lewandowski could both have a key part to play in the final in Lisbon and have been picked out as the men who can make the difference for their side.
Deco, who won the Champions League with Porto in 2004 and Barcelona in 2006, feels that, while Lewandowski is a great player, Neymar is even better.
Deco told Goal: ‘If we consider that the Champions League final is decisive [in choosing who is the best], there’s no lying. Lewandowski is a great player, a star, perhaps the best striker in the world nowadays.
‘But Neymar is different – he’s on Messi and Ronaldo’s level. Maybe the final will influence who is picked, but I, as part of the audience and a lover of football, would choose Neymar. He’s different, he plays beautiful football.’
Deco added that he feels that Neymar has demonstrated that he now has more maturity to his game.
‘Time gives you experience and maturity to face things in different ways,’ Deco said.
‘A player like Neymar already flipped that switch a long time ago. He’s been doing it for so long, he started at a very young age.
‘Of course, there’s a time in your career when you’re 27, 28 years old that you peak in your maturity; you know when to use your energy, you understand the game better, you know your own body.’
While Neymar won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2015, Lewandowski has yet to win Europe’s elite club competition.
This season Neymar has three goals in six Champions League games, while Lewandowski has a rather remarkable return of 15 goals in nine appearances.
Aside from Neymar and Lewandowski, there are a host of other stars on both sides.
Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria, for instance, will hope to thrive for PSG, while the likes of Serge Gnabry and Thomas Muller will be eager to shine for Bayern.