Neymar says he was embarrassed to talk to Lionel Messi and felt like he was in a video game when he first signed for Barcelona from Santos in 2013.
The Brazil international attended his Barca team-mate’s star-studded wedding in Rosario on Friday, a sign of the close bond he has developed with the club legend.
But Neymar revealed he has not always been able to talk so freely around Messi, finding the settling in process at Camp Nou daunting as he entered a dressing room that featured so many of the game’s greats.
“I would walk into the dressing room and I would look to one side and see Messi and then I would look to the other side and I would see Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Dani Alves,” Neymar told Brazilian TV show Caldeirao do Huck.
“I thought that I was inside a video game. One day I was playing with them on the games console and then the next day I was there next to them.
“The first month was very difficult and to begin with I was embarrassed to speak to Messi, as these guys were idols. They were idols to me, while I was the new arrival and still very young.”
Neymar – part of the famed ‘MSN’ strikeforce alongside Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou – congratulated the five-time Ballon d’Or winner and his bride on Instagram after attending his marriage to Antonella Roccuzzo.
The 25-year-old feels it has been the support from his team-mates and those closest to him which helped him adapt to life in the Barca spotlight.
“Everything begins from zero, as what you have done in Brazil counts for nothing [in Europe],” he said.
“You have to prove your worth. You have to fight and I had struggles adapting. Friends and supposed cousins appear from out of the woodwork. It’s tricky.
“But in the end it all worked out thanks to the help of my team-mates, family and friends. They helped to keep me focused and concentrated.”
Neymar has won two LaLiga titles and the Champions League among eight trophies in his four years with the club.