Lionel Messi has entered the fray as speculation over a transfer for Neymar continues, with both Barcelona and Real Madrid desperate to sign the Paris Saint-Germain forward.The Argentine doesn’t want his friend to play for Los Blancos and called the 27-year-old to advise him against agreeing a deal with Barcelona’s rivals, instead urging him to return to the Camp Nou.The relationship between the two players is excellent and has been demonstrated on many occasions alongside Luis Suarez, too.
Messi feels a special affinity for his former teammate. The bond between the two has gone beyond the pitch; the respect and admiration they feel for one another is total and absolute. Neymar has always recognised how playing alongside Messi has aided his growth as a footballer.
At times, being at the command of Messi helped him when both played at the Camp Nou.Messi did all he could to stop Neymar leaving the team’s attacking trio two years ago and has since said that Neymar would be pleased to return to the club.
If there was any doubt Messi had forgotten this, this has been disproven by the two’s recent telephone exchange. They are friends and it’s a relationship Messi is keen to develop further, as exemplified by him telling the Brazilian to turn his back on Real Madrid’s interest.
Messi is more than just Barcelona’s captain; his opinions and desires play a huge part in the club’s decisions. There have even been occasions he hasn’t needed to express his views for president Josep Maria Bartomeu to make sure he is as comfortable as possible.
This was proven at the end of last season when Messi, alongside the rest of the Barcelona dressing room, backed coach Ernesto Valverde to stay on for the following campaign, despite many fans wanting a change on the sidelines.
In the case of Neymar, his future is more uncertain given that Messi’s teammates can vouch for the Brazilian and influence his decision.
The desire for Neymar to return has been reflected in the Barcelona players requesting that the club pursue the forward. In reality, however, there’s no need for every player to demand his return because Messi’s contentment in playing alongside both Neymar and Suarez is enough.
Messi’s happiness is the most telling thing for those at the Camp Nou.As for the position Barcelona and PSG find themselves in, it must be said that the relationship between the two clubs is poor.
The impression felt by the Barcelona hierarchy is that PSG would prefer to see Neymar in the white of Real Madrid than Barcelona’s blue and garnet, and are therefore rebuking the Catalans’ overtures.
Passionate fans of PSG have made their views clear: they want the club’s Qatari owners to ensure Neymar leaves, but only for a price that matches the player’s substantial quality.
Real Madrid have not lost hope in signing the player, but their primary focus is on deciding the futures of attackers Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Mariano Diaz, while making sure they don’t lose out on what would be an important asset.The club are monitoring Neymar’s situation closely, with the possibility of making a big statement before the transfer window closes.