Neymar can emerge from the shadow of Lionel Messi by moving to PSG. Photo: Kamil Zihnioglu/AP

PARIS – Brazilian legend Pele hailed Neymar’s move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain as an opportunity for his compatriot to “be the big star”, in an interview on Friday.

Pele, who won the World Cup three times as a player and scored over 1 000 goals during his career, said that it would be good for Neymar to leave the shadow of former Barca teammate Lionel Messi.

“For Neymar, I think it (moving to PSG) was the best thing,” Pele told goal.com.

“I think it was the best thing because there was always the discussion, ‘Neymar, Messi, Neymar, Messi’. Now, he will have the opportunity to be the big star.”

Neymar spent four seasons with Barcelona before joining big-spending PSG in a world-record transfer worth €222 million.

The 25-year-old forward started out at Santos, where Pele played for the majority of his glittering career.

“It’s a great responsibility he has now,” Pele, 76, added.

“Because people started comparing Neymar to Messi. And as a Brazilian, I say that there’s no doubt that Neymar is one of the best in his position, because we have Cristiano Ronaldo, who is a centre-forward as well. 

“But with Messi, it’s a bit different. Messi is an organiser, and he also scores goals.”