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Barcelona coach Enrique sees Ronaldinho traits in Neymar

AFP , Sunday 8 Nov 2015
Barcelona's Neymar points the FC Barcelona crest as he celebrates a goal against Villarreal during their Spanish first division soccer match at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, November 8, 2015. (REUTERS)

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique believes Neymar is following in the footsteps of fellow-Brazilian Ronaldinho after he sealed another two-goal display with a fabulous individual effort as Barca beat Villarreal 3-0 on Sunday.

Neymar has now scored 11 times in just 10 La Liga appearances this season as he and Luis Suarez have dragged the European champions through a six-week spell without the injured Lionel Messi relatively unscathed.

Ronaldinho won two league titles, a Champions League and the 2005 Ballon d'Or during his time in the Catalan capital.

Enrique played with Ronaldinho towards the end of his Barca playing career, but, in contrast to his former teammate, was quick to laud Neymar's work-rate as well as his brilliance near the opposition area.

"I had the luck to play with Ronaldinho and I remember how we were struck before the games just watching him strike the ball. The same type of thing happens with Ney.

"We are talking about unique, special players and, I repeat, I can highlight his goals, his attacking play but also the running he does defensively and the solidarity he has with the rest of the team."

Neymar's sensational form in 2015 is likely to see him named among the three finalists for the Ballon d'Or for the first time in December.

But Enrique insisted his sights should be on more trophies after lifting the treble last season than beating Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo to individual awards.

"The key to achieve the collective objectives we have and from there the individual awards will come."

A fourth consecutive league win ensures Barca will at the worst go into El Clasico against Real Madrid in two weeks' time level on points with their eternal rivals.

Between them Neymar and Suarez have combined for Barca's last 17 league goals to keep their title bid on track.

However, whilst insisting that Messi will not be rushed back into action, Enrique dismissed suggestions he hasn't been missed in recent weeks.

"The only thing we worried about since Leo got injured was that his recovery went well.

"There is no doubt that we are infinitely better with him.

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