Barcelona star teammates have begged Neymar to resist the temptation of moving to Paris St Germain after a training ground altercation with new signing Nelson Semedo.
The French giants are supposedly ready to launch a record-breaking $256 million (218 million euros) move for Neymar, sparking exit fears as the Spanish club prepared for a Saturday “El Clasico” friendly match-up with Real Madrid in Miami.
The unsettled 25-year-old Brazilian stormed off the practice pitch in disgust and has yet to commit his future to Barcelona ahead of the transfer deadline, still more than a month away.
“It’s true, something did happen, but that’s sometimes what happens in training,” Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta said.
“All the talk about Neymar right now, everything is magnified. Things like this can happen. It’s a personal decision for him, but of course we want him to stay.”
Strike partner Luis Suarez has formed a deadly partnership with Neymar and echoed Iniesta’s calls for the interest from PSG to be dismissed once and for all.
“As soon as he clarifies the situation it’s better for us and him. He will have his say when he is ready and as a teammate I will support him,” Suarez said.
“Our relationship won’t change. We want him to stay.”
Boss Ernesto Valverde swerved the media on the eve of the match with arch-rival Real, but Iniesta sang Neymar’s praises.
“For me, he’s one of the best players in the world. He brings so much to the team and hopefully he will stay for many years,” Iniesta said.
“He is worth more than $200 million or $300 million. His playing style suits us and he can only improve with us.”
Neymar made an appearance at a Nike shop in Miami on Friday afternoon to celebrate the release of his new boots.
But the superstar striker refused to talk about the speculation and just posed for photographs with fans a day after the training spat at Miami’s Barry University training complex.
Barca are set to return to Spain after the clash at the home stadium of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, but Neymar is still lined up to travel to China on business for the La Liga giants.
Provided by AFP Sport
The intrigue surrounding Neymar’s future at Barcelona took another twist when the Brazilian star said on Saturday that he would be in Shanghai on Monday.
It comes a day after a major event organiser in China said a meet-and-greet with the forward on Monday in Shanghai was off because he and his advisers were busy with transfer business.
That added to swirling speculation that the unsettled 25-year-old could be poised to join Paris Saint-Germain for a record-breaking 222 million euros.
Footage also emerged of Neymar having a training-ground altercation with new Barcelona signing Nelson Semedo while in Miami, where they play Real Madrid later Saturday in a high-profile friendly.
Then Neymar sent a first message on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, saying: “Greetings to the fans in China! I’m Neymar Jr, this is my official Weibo account.
“I am going to be sharing my own personal experiences here with Chinese fans.
“I’m looking forward to your following and reposting! See you in Shanghai on Monday!”
The message was written in English and Chinese, but gave no further details on his movements in China.
The first Clasico of the season will take place on Sunday, and it could be a momentous one in the history of the rivalry as it may be the last time Neymar turns out in a Barcelona shirt.
Neymar is reportedly on the verge of leaving Barca in a record-breaking transfer to PSG, news which will undoubtedly make Real Madrid happy.
The Brazil international has not quite tortured Los Blancos the way Lionel Messi has, but he’s enjoyed his encounters with Barcelona’s bitter rivals nonetheless as the video below shows.
His Barcelona teammates want him to stay, obviously, and add to his three goals in eight games against Real Madrid. Barcelona know they are better with Neymar than without him, against Madrid or any other opponent.
The speculation around the Brazilian’s future has ensured one thing: on Sunday, all eyes will be on Neymar.