Neymar left Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain in the summer for a record-breaking £200million fee.
The move stunned Barcelona who had hoped to tie the Brazilian down to a new long-term deal at the Nou Camp.
Speculation was rife that the reason the 25-year-old jumped ship was due to Lionel Messi.
And Dani Alves has confirmed that was the case, claiming Neymar had to get out of Argentina international’s shadow.
“I think he’s up there with Messi as the most influential player in world football,” Alves told Fifa.
“The thing is, he had to come out of his shadow a little.
“Playing with someone as unique as Leo is the most incredible thing that can happen to you.
“But there’s always that doubt in your mind if it’s you that really has the quality or if it’s him.
“I always loved playing with him, but he’s Argentinian and Neymar and I are Brazilians.
“Sooner or later we had to come up against each other.
“I think you’ve got a better chance of achieving things individually when you’re not so close to a player like him.
“It was important for Ney’s own development and for Brazil for him to follow his own path.”
– Adapted from Express Sports.