Lionel Messi appears unhappy that Barcelona’s failed to re-sign Neymar this summer, revealing that the Brazilian was desperate to return to Camp Nou.
Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee two years ago following an acrimonious departure from Barca, but his time in the French capital has been a turbulent one.
He had been at the centre of several controversial incidents including an altercation with a fan following last season’s French Cup final defeat to Rennes. He got a suspension and a heavy fine for his action.
Having fallen out with several high ranking officials, the 27-year-old attempted to engineer a return to Catalonia this summer but Barcelona were unable to raise the funds required to conclude a deal.
“I understand those people who are against his return and it’s understandable for what happened with Ney and the way that he left. But thinking about it on a sporting level, I personally think Neymar is one of the best players in the world and having him in our squad would increase our chances of achieving our objectives,” he said.
“But, in the end, it didn’t happen and we have to only think about the squad we have and focus on our goals.
“I don’t know what happened with the board. I know that I spoke with Ney and he told me how things were going. He was desperate to come back. I don’t know if the club really tried or not.
“What I do know, Neymar was hoping it would happen. I also understand it’s very difficult to negotiate with PSG after all their previous back and forth issues with Barcelona.
“And it’s difficult because Neymar is one of the best around. Negotiations are never easy. I can’t offer an opinion because I don’t know everything. I know what was published and what they said.
“Obviously I wanted him to come not just for the sporting side of things but also for the club. In terms of the image, marketing, sponsorships and to keep growing. It would have given the club a lift too. But it didn’t happen.”
Neymar scored in Brazil’s 2-2 draw with Colombia in Miami and came off the bench as Brazil suffered a shock 1-0 loss to Peru in Los Angeles.