TERESOPOLIS, BRAZIL (REUTERS) - Brazil forward Neymar has done the unpredictable once again by revealing he will support Brazil's biggest rivals Argentina in Sunday's World Cup final against Germany.
Neymar said he wanted Barcelona team mates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano to win football's biggest prize, even if many of his compatriots will be surprised at his open support for their neighbours.
"I always said I wanted Argentina to get to the final because Brazil would be there but it never worked out like that," Neymar told reporters on Thursday. "I still want them there because my two team mates are there, Messi and Mascherano, and I hope they win."
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 will play the Netherlands in the third-place playoff match 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 won almost everything and I think he deserves to be champion and I am cheering for him to be champion," Neymar said. "He is my team mate and my friend."
Brazil and Argentina have long been the biggest rivals in South America. Brazil have won the World Cup five times and Argentina two.