Neymar joining Real Madrid would be "painful" says Barcelona midfielder

David Cooper 11/08/2019
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Neymar

Neymar joining Real Madrid would be “painful”, according to Barcelona midfielder Carles Alena.

The Brazilian is in talks to leave Paris Saint-Germain with both the Blaugrana and their bitter rivals Real battling for his signature.

Neymar is said to be desperate to leave Paris but while a transfer seems likely, the destination is not yet clear.

However, Alena hopes it won’t be to the Spanish capital.

“It would hurt if Neymar went to our eternal rival, especially after playing [for Barcelona],” Alena said after Barca defeated Napoli 4-0 in a pre-season friendly.

“We hope that he comes back. He’s a spectacular player, one of the best in the world.

“If he comes back it would be an amazing signing, it would be an incredible way to close the transfer window. He would make us all better.”

PSG revealed on Saturday that Neymar transfer talks are “more advanced than before” after he was dropped for the French champions’ opening Ligue 1 match.

Sporting director Leonardo confirmed to reporters that the Brazil icon was near the exit door but that PSG were “not yet ready to give their approval (to the transfer)” ahead of Sunday’s game against Nimes at the Parc des Princes.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said: “Neymar did not complete training and it’s not possible that he plays tomorrow.”

The club are impatient for the transfer saga to reach a conclusion, one way or another.

“It’s important to shape our future for everyone,” Neymar’s fellow Brazilian Leonardo told a press conference.

“If he stays, he plays. If he leaves, he leaves. The quicker (we know) the better.”

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Ernesto Valverde happy with Barcelona squad ahead of 2019/20 season

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Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says he is happy with the squad at his disposal going into the 2019/20 season.

The Spanish giants were very active in the transfer market and are expected to remain so, as they attempt to sign Paris Saint-Germain winger Neymar.

The coach, however, provided no clarity on the club’s pursuit of the Brazilian when he addressed the media ahead of Barcelona’s final pre-season friendly against Napoli on Saturday night.

“That’s just an assumption,” Valverde responded when asked if Neymar’s arrival would distort the balance at the club.

“We’ll see what happens, but you already know the usual answer which is that he’s a player of another team and so on.

“I know what I have, what I’m working with and who I’m counting on.

“What happens, we’ll see. We don’t know what’ll happen and I’m not thinking about it. I’ll think about it tomorrow.”

The Basque coach reiterated that he is happy with the team and will work with all the players in the squad.

“I’m always happy with the players I have,” Valverde explained.

“They’re very good. Even last year we almost had a perfect season.

“Now we’ve made four important additions and we have to try to improve.”

Ivan Rakitic has been linked with a move away from the club, with Inter Milan emerging as favourites. The manager admitted that he is unsure of the player’s future at the club but confirmed that there is nothing to suggest that he will be departing yet.

“He’s very important for us,” Valverde said.

“His work is there. Right now I don’t know if he’ll stay, but I’m counting on him, as I am with everyone we have.

“In principle, nothing makes me think I won’t have him.”

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Ernesto Valverde can't rule out Ivan Rakitic departure as Neymar talk continues

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Ernesto Valverde has conceded he does not know whether Ivan Rakitic will stick around for Barcelona’s 2019/20 campaign.

Rakitic will go down as one of Barca’s finest pieces of transfer business, having enjoyed a starring role at Camp Nou ever since signing for a bargain £16.2m from Sevilla in 2014.

But the Croatian – who scored the opening goal against Juventus in the 2015/16 Champions League final victory – may now be coming to the end of his Blaugrana career.

It is thought that the 31-year-old may be used as a countweight in Barca’s bid to bring Neymar back to Spain, while there is also reported interest from Italy.

And while Barca boss Valverde still values Rakitic, he admits to having doubt over whether his long-term future lies in Catalonia.

“He’s very important for us,” said Valverde, according to Marca. “His work is there. Right now I don’t know if he’ll stay, but I’m counting on him, as I am with everyone we have.

“In principle, nothing makes me think I won’t have him.”

It has been a busy summer at Camp Nou even if Barca do not land Neymar, having added France star Antoine Griezmann, left-back Junior Firpo, Ajax man Frenkie De Jong and back-up keeper Neto to their stocks.

“I’m always happy with the players I have,” Valverde added “They’re very good. Even last year we almost had a perfect season.

“Now we’ve made four important additions and we have to try to improve.”

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