Tuesday 08 November 2016, 12:56

Neymar and Messi arrive together in former’s jet

Neymar and Lionel Messi flew into Belo Horizonte together in the former’s private jet on Tuesday morning ahead of Brazil’s showdown with Argentina in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying.

The pair were allowed to arrive in Minas Gerais one day after the majority of their team-mates because, otherwise, after helping Barcelona win 2-1 at Sevilla on Sunday evening, they’d have had to get a 5am flight across the Atlantic on Monday.

Neymar, Messi and Javier Mascherano therefore got a good night's rest and a later flight from Barcelona to Sao Paulo, where the two Argentinians accepted a ride on the Brazilian’s aircraft to the scene of Thursday’s game.

Messi and Mascherano were the last players to arrive in Edgardo Bauza’s squad. Neymar was the penultimate Brazilian to join the party. Zenit midfielder Giuliano will be the last.

Brazil lead the South American standings, one point above Uruguay and four clear of Ecuador and Colombia. Argentina are five points off the pace in sixth.

Neymar, with 49 goals in 73 internationals, is fourth on Brazil’s list of all-time leading marksmen behind Pele (77 in 91), Ronaldo (62 in 98) and Romario (55 in 70).

Messi, with 56 goals in 114 internationals, recently eclipsed Gabriel Batistuta (54 in 77) to become Argentina’s highest-ever scorer.