Neymar: I am a big fan of Balotelli

The Brazil forward expressed his admiration for the AC Milan star after coming up against him on Thursday

Neymar has revealed that he is a “big fan” of striker Mario Balotelli, after Brazil’s 2-2 friendly draw with Italy.

Fred opened the scoring in Thursday’s encounter, before Oscar doubled the lead with half-time looming, but second-half strikes from Daniele De Rossi and Mario Balotelli levelled the clash.

The AC Milan’s goal, a 25-yard strike which went in off the underside of the bar – was particularly impressive, and the Santos attacker expressed his admiration for the Serie A forward.

He told reporters after the match: “He’s a player that I’m a big fan of. A great player and great person.

“I think the Selecao were good. We are getting better with each passing day and you can see our team improving. It’s a great team, with players of real quality.”

Selecao goalkeeper Julio Cesar, who got a hand to Balotelli’s goalbound effort but was unable to keep it out, was disappointed with mistakes made by his team-mates which led to the Azzurri’s comeback.

“The game was in our hands, but we stalled,” the QPR star said. “They scored two goals from our errors more than by their merit. Of course they had merit, but they scored from things we got wrong.”

Brazil were ranked at a lowly 18th in the Fifa world rankings heading into the clash and have been criticised for putting in poor performances of late, but South American starlet Fernando believes the team put in an excellent display.

“It would have been better if we had left with a win,” the 21-year-old Gremio midfielder said. “But the whole team put in a good performance, despite faltering in the second period.

“Lack of fitness is normal, and our legs tired a bit. [The draw] also serves to help us learn and appreciate use of possession, and [we will try] to see more of the ball next time.”

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