Neymar remains in Paris after a summer of speculation that put other historic transfer sagas to shame – but Lionel Messi admits he was certain he’d leave for Real Madrid if not Barcelona.
Neither Barcelona nor Real could agree to terms with Paris Saint-Germain for the Brazilian, with the Parisians standing pat on their valuation of a player they had bought for €222m two seasons ago.
Neymar was not shy in making his feelings known over the summer – PSG boss Thomas Tuchel went as far to concede ‘he tried everything in his power’ to leave the club.
A reunion with Messi and Luis Suarez looked almost certain at one point – but that dream could well have turned into a nightmare for the Blaugrana.
It is well known that Madrid president Florentino Perez has long admired Neymar’s talents and Messi had at one point feared he would be lining up against his fellow superstar attacker as a rival in El Clasico.
“I really thought Neymar would go to Real Madrid if he didn’t come here,” Messi said in an interview with RAC1.
“He really wanted to leave Paris and he’d shown it.
“And I thought that Florentino [Perez] and Real Madrid were going to do something to sign him.”
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