Former Argentina international Javier Zanetti believes Neymar is nearing the same level as serial Ballon d'Or winners Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Brazil international was the star of the show for his nation in its home World Cup four years ago, only for his involvement to be cut short following an injury suffered in the quarterfinal victory over Colombia.

Neymar subsequently missed the semifinal against Germany, where his team suffered a humbling 7-1 defeat against eventual winner Germany, but will hope to lead his side to glory in 2018.

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Already capped 85 times, Neymar caught the headlines in 2017 with a record transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain as he continued his quest to become the world's best.

While Messi and Ronaldo are still viewed as the top two, Zanetti feels the PSG forward - who has recovered from a foot injury in time to feature in Russia - is not far behind.

"Neymar is very strong, has great quality and is very close to Messi and Ronaldo. I believe that this World Cup can be that of his consecration," he told Mediaset .

Brazil begins its campaign against Switzerland on Sunday, before completing its Group E fixtures against Costa Rica and Serbia.