Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has addressed the rumors surrounding Neymar’s potential return to the club from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).
Neymar departed Barcelona in 2017 for a world-record fee of €222 million to join PSG, and recently, there have been strong speculations of a reunion between the Brazilian forward and his former club.
Xavi, who played alongside Neymar 69 times during his time as a player, has quashed any talks of Neymar’s comeback. According to information shared by Fabrizio Romano via @JijantesFC, the Barcelona boss revealed that while he values Neymar as a friend, their priorities differ.
In his statement, Xavi said, “I really like Ney as a friend, but we have different priorities.”
Neymar’s future at PSG seems uncertain, and there are reports suggesting that the French club is open to selling him this summer. PSG has already witnessed the departure of Lionel Messi, who joined MLS franchise Inter Miami.
Messi was believed to be Barcelona’s primary target for this summer, but with his move to Paris, the Catalan giants need to reassess their plans. Recent reports have indicated that Neymar offered himself to Barcelona, but Xavi’s remarks put an end to those possibilities.
When Neymar joined PSG, he was expected to be the face of the club’s project. However, his time in the French capital has been marked by challenges. Despite winning 13 trophies with PSG, including five Ligue 1 titles, the 31-year-old has struggled with injuries, missing a significant number of games—119 in total—much to the frustration of the club’s management.
Meanwhile, Neymar took to Twitter to send a heartfelt message to his friend Lionel Messi after the Argentine superstar’s departure from PSG to join Inter Miami.
Neymar, who played alongside Messi at both Barcelona and PSG, expressed his gratitude for having the opportunity to play with Messi for two more years. In his tweet, Neymar wrote:
“Brother… it didn’t turn out as we thought but we tried everything. It was a pleasure to share 2 more years with you. Good luck in your new stage and be happy. I love you ❤️ #leomessi”
The friendship between Messi and Neymar dates back to their time together at Barcelona when the two South American stars formed a formidable partnership in 2013 after Neymar’s transfer from Santos.
Alongside Luis Suarez, another South American superstar, they formed one of the most lethal attacking trios in football history. From the 2014-15 season to the 2016-17 campaign, they played a total of 450 games together across all competitions, scoring an incredible 364 goals at an average of 0.81 goals per game, while also providing 173 assists.