Lionel Messi has admitted he “would have loved” Neymar to re-join Barcelona this summer but still believes the team can compete for major trophies without the Brazilian.
Neymar was heavily linked with a return to Barcelona throughout the summer, but the La Liga champions were unable to agree a deal with Paris Saint-Germain before the European transfer deadline.
Why didn’t Barcelona sign Neymar? Five things to know…
- A series of off-field problems and public comments saw PSG openly admit Neymar was for sale.
- Even head coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed the world’s most expensive player wished to leave.
- PSG say Barcelona submitted their first offer less than a week before the transfer window closed.
- The offer was a loan deal with an obligation to purchase for €170m, according to reports from France…
- …where Le Parisien say PSG wanted two senior players in addition to a fee of just over €100m.
Barcelona have endured a mixed start to the new campaign, winning just one of their three league matches so far – Messi is yet to play this season because of injury.
But the Argentinian believes Barcelona have more than enough quality in their squad to “fight on all fronts”, even if signing Neymar would have been a huge bonus.
“I would have loved for Neymar to come,” Messi told Spanish publication Sport.
“Honestly, I don’t know if Barca did everything possible to get him back but I’m sure negotiating with PSG isn’t easy.
“I am not disappointed. We have a spectacular squad that can fight on all fronts, without Ney as well.
“On a sporting level Neymar is one of the best in the world. And with him on the sponsorship and image front, the club would have also taken a step up.”
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“We never pushed for Neymar signing… I don’t run Barcelona”
In the past, there have been suggestions that Messi is essentially in control of the decisions made at Barcelona, particularly when it comes to transfers.
But the 32-year-old has reiterated he is solely a player for the club amid suggestions he and others had demanded the signing of Neymar.
He added: “We never asked for Neymar to be signed, we just gave our opinion.
“Do I run things [at Barcelona]? It has been demonstrated that it is not the case.”