It was enough to make any lover of team sports tear up with joy.
This is hardly the first time the 23-year-old Brazilian has gushed over his big brother from another mother, however. Neymar often refers to the 28-year-old Argentine as his idol on Instagram, where he posted a picture of the two accepting their awards at the Ballon d’Or ceremony on Monday. (Neymar came in third, behind second-place finisher Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.)
Neymar has also referred to Messi as his “best friend,” described their relationship as “marvelous” and generally seems to genuinely adore the man he’s often declared the best in the world.
And the feeling is mutual. Messi has fully taken Neymar under his wing, once even declaring he thinks the young Brazilian will someday surpass him.
“I think that with his quality and fitness, Neymar will become the best in the world,” Messi said during a 2014 press conference. He also called him “a fabulous guy” off the pitch.
It’s no wonder their celebratory goal hugs, often joined by Luis Suarez, the third prong in Barcelona’s front three, are so heartfelt.