Football News

“I think he wants to come back” – Lionel Messi still eager for Barcelona to re-sign Neymar

By Chris Smith

Published: 11:26, 21 February 2020

Lionel Messi has admitted he would “love” Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar to return to Barcelona one day.

The Brazil international scored 105 goals for Barca between 2013 and 2017, winning six major trophies and forming the famous ‘MSN’ attacking trident alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.

Could Neymar return to Barcelona? Five things to know…

  • Neymar scored 105 goals in 186 appearances for Barca between 2013 and 2017.
  • But the Brazilian departed for PSG in 2017 for £200m.
  • Neymar reportedly wanted to escape the shadow of Messi and win the Ballon d’Or.
  • Since then, though, he’s failed to do so while Messi won the award in 2019.
  • Neymar has scored 16 goals in 19 games across all competitions for PSG this season.

But Neymar departed for PSG in 2017 in a transfer worth around £200m — perhaps in a bid to escape Messi’s shadow and win the Ballon d’Or award — and has helped the French giants to five domestic trophies since, although European glory still eludes them.

Such has been PSG’s struggles on the continent that Neymar has consistently been linked with a return to Spain, either back to Barcelona or arch-rivals Real Madrid.

And Messi — who is the current holder of the Ballon d’Or — has revealed he would welcome a return to the Nou Camp for Neymar, who he believes is keen to rejoin the Catalan club.

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“Neymar is one of the best in the world and I’d love him to come back,” he told Mundo Deportivo (via Sky Sports). “He is a very happy person who is always smiling and enjoys himself on and off the pitch. He gave all the players a lift.

“It’s normal for the fans to feel [resentment about his possible return] because of the way he left, and that also bothered me at the time because we tried to do everything possible to try to convince him not to do it.

“At the end of the day, we all want to win. We all want to have the best and that goes for the fans, who want to see good football and success.

“I think Neymar really wants to come back. He’s sorry about what he did and last year he tried hard to come back. I think that [apologising] would be the first step he would take to try to make it happen.”

Messi’s Barcelona currently trail La Liga leaders Real Madrid by one point and host Eibar next, while PSG are once again runaway leaders in Ligue 1 with a home tie against Bordeaux coming up on Sunday.

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