“Cristiano Ronaldo has scrutinized our diet, Lionel Messi is a privilege to play with and Neymar is a genius”
Not many players can say they’ve called up Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar and Lionel Messi’s teammates, but Arthur Melo can.
The midfielder, who is set to join Liverpool in the Premier League from Juventus, once revealed what it’s like to play with the modern big three, giving his views on their ability on the pitch and on what they were outside.
Arthur, 26, joined Serie A giants Barcelona in the summer of 2020 in a £60m deal but failed to start in Turin.
But there he played with Ronaldo and the Brazil international claimed he was baffled by the way current Manchester United striker Ronaldo – now 37 – is keeping fit.
“Cristiano surprised me with his professionalism,” Arthur told TNT Sports Brasil.
“He’s not a footballer, he’s an athlete. He’s a professional because of all the work he does up front. Not on the pitch, which everyone sees, but off the pitch.
“He’s a person who works, eats well, and now gets 15 minutes of sunshine. [each day]. He is a professional and also a friendly person who tries to help.
“He cares about the people around him. We used to sit at the table with him. Sometimes he looked at our plate and told us: ‘Not like that, huh’ [laughs].
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“He tries to help in everything. He’s a sensational person. »
Ronaldo’s dedicated fitness program is one of the main reasons he has remained injury free for long stretches and remains one of the best players in the world despite his age and the emergence of young talent.
Arthur also rubs shoulders with his compatriot Neymar when he represents Brazil. He revealed how the Paris Saint-Germain striker helped him settle into the international setup.
“Neymar is a talent, the one that only he has. He also grew when he arrived in Europe [at Barcelona in 2013]“, he added about the thirties.
“The more pressure he has, the better he plays. He’s a genius. A genius at doing what he does on the pitch. I have a lot of love for him.
“He’s one of those people who maybe helped me the most when I got into the national team. He always told me to go with him.
“He made me better and helped me a lot. It’s a privilege to be friends with him,” he said.
The 25-year-old also got to play with arguably the best footballer of all time in Messi during their time together at Barcelona.
“Messi… it seems God has pointed the finger at him. He’s an alien because, on the pitch, he does amazing things,” he recalls.
“Watching their games at home, of course at home, you can see the whole pitch. Inside the pitch you only see part of that and the ball, but Messi seems to be watching the whole pitch from above.
“He is reserved, but also extroverted. Great professional, he works a lot. He has a more reserved life, maybe not like Cristiano or Neymar, but because of his personality he can do whatever he wants.
“He also helped me a lot when I arrived at Barcelona. He praised me in interviews when I started in Europe. It was also a privilege to work with him.
Arthur’s experience will be a welcome addition at Anfield where manager Jurgen Klopp has been hampered by his side’s injuries.
Captain Jordan Henderson picked up a hamstring injury against Newcastle on Wednesday night, while Thiago, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Curtis Jones are also all out.
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