Rio de Janiero - Crocked Brazilian star Neymar declared on Thursday that he wants Lionel Messi to lead fierce rivals Argentina to victory over Germany as the countdown to the Soccer World Cup final began.
Neymar, who missed Brazil's 7-1 humiliation against Germany through injury, told a press conference he wanted Messi and Argentina to win the title.
"Messi's history in the sport is so important, he has won a lot of trophies and I will be cheering for him," said Neymar, a team-mate of Messi's at Barcelona.
"He is a friend, he is my team-mate and I wish him luck."
Neymar's support of Messi, and by extension Argentina, is unlikely to be shared by many of his compatriots.
Brazilians are dreading the prospect of Argentina claiming their third world title in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday.
The South American nations are sworn footballing enemies, and Argentina's advance to the final rubbed salt into Brazilian wounds still fresh from Tuesday's record defeat to Germany.
"The nightmare continues," O Dia newspaper commented glumly after Argentina booked their place in the final by beating the Netherlands on Wednesday.
As many as 100,000 Argentine fans are expected to descend on Rio for the final, the climax of a month-long footballing fiesta.