Lionel Messi would have been "delighted" to see Neymar return to the summer transfer window, said the captain of FC Barcelona in an interview published Thursday by the Catalan daily Sport, ensuring nevertheless that Barça is able to win all the trophies without the Brazilian .
Ten days after the closing of the summer transfer market, which saw Neymar hold the football planet in suspense before being forced to stay at Paris SG, Messi defended his friend and former partner in Barcelona (2013-2017) . And the Argentinean has been reassuring about his personal future at Barça while a clause, recently unveiled in the press, allows him early to end his contract next summer.
"Yes, I would have been delighted to see Neymar come back," said Messi in this long interview on Tuesday. "I understand the people who did not agree, it's normal after everything that happened around + Ney +, the way he left (PSG), which he abandoned us (.. But considering the sporting aspect, for me Neymar is one of the best in the world and obviously our team would have increased its chances of achieving the desired results. "
"I'm not disappointed," he said. "I would have liked him to come and be with us, but as I said, we have an exceptional squad to compete for every title, even without him."
Incidentally, the star denied having imposed on its leaders the recruitment of Brazilian: "Here, it is not me who command," he argued. "We never said we had to recruit him, we did not impose anything."
In 2017, he became the most expensive player in history (EUR 222m) by slamming Barça's door into Paris SG, Neymar was eager to return to Barcelona, as confirmed by Messi.
- "Neymar was very eager" -
"I do not know if the club (Barcelona) wanted it ... From what I know, Neymar was very eager, but I understand that it is very difficult to negotiate with PSG," said the small striker, saying to ignore if Barça bluffed in this case, as suggested by the French press: "I do not know, sincerely I do not know if (Barca) did everything possible."
Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu has ruled out last week to go on the offensive for Neymar in the winter mercato, while stressing that Barça could raise the issue again in the summer of 2020.
Regarding his future, Messi, 32, was reassuring when his current contract, signed in 2017 and running until 2021, is unilaterally cancellable next summer.
"My plan is to stay here as long as I'm able to compete and my body will allow it," he said.
"I want to stay at FC Barcelona for as long as possible, to do my whole career because it's my home ... (...) For me, the money or the clause does not mean anything, I'm animated by something else. more important for me is that there is an ambitious project, "added the Argentinean, who dreams of winning a fifth Champions League with Barça (after 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015).
Currently recovering from a calf injury, Messi said he is still recovering. He will again be on Saturday against Valencia in the Championship of Spain but hopes to return next week, he said. "We will see if I come back against Borussia (Dortmund Tuesday in C1), or against Granada (Saturday 21 September in Liga)," he said.
© 2019 AFP