Injured Brazilian striker Neymar wants his Argentine Barcelona teammates to win the World Cup, but his backup was not welcomed by rival Maxi Rodriguez.
“I constantly supposed I wanted Argentina to get to the final because Brazil would be in that location, but it never turned out like that,” Neymar told reporters on Thursday.
“I still want them on that point because my two team mates are there, Messi and Mascherano, and I hope they win.”
Rodriguez, however, railed at Neymar’s support.
“I’m indifferent to Neymar saying that Argentina or Germany should be heroes,” Rodriguez stated. “What troubles me is what they saythey’ree (in Argentina), I don’t care what outsiders say.
The Brazil v Argentina rivalry is one of the hottest in football and is particularly tense this week as Argentina are within view of winning their third World Cup at Rio’s famous Maracana stadium.
Rodriguez, who is awaited to run at least some role in the final against Germany, pulled in his less than magnanimous comments just hours after Neymar spoke.
Argentina will play Germany, who handed Brazil their heaviest ever World Cup defeat in Tuesday’s 7-1 semi-final thrashing, at the Maracana on Sunday.
Brazil take on the Netherlands in the third-place playoff on Saturday but Neymar will miss the game, as he did the semi-final, because of a back injury.
Neymar singled out Messi for special praise and said the World Cup trophy would be a fitting addition to his bulging trophy cabinet.
“He’s gained almost everything and I guess he deserves to be champion and I am barracking for him to be champion,” Neymar said, jokingly adding that he was defending his allies rather than Brazil’s biggest rivals. “He is my team mate and my friend.”
Brazil has won the World Cup five times and Argentina as well.