Neymar: What I would most like is to return to playing with Messi
Messi is out of contract at Camp Nou at the end of June and will be available to move on a free transfer at that point.
With Barcelona buckling under a significant financial strain, the tendency is that he could leave the club he has spent his whole career with.
Neymar, meanwhile, has 18 months to run on his PSG deal, and though his future is unclear, he has sent a message to the club board that there is a sure fire way of keeping him: adding Messi to the Parisians’ ranks.
‘We have to do it’ – Neymar
Speaking to ESPN Argentina after helping Thomas Tuchel’s side to a 3-1 Champions League win over Manchester United, Neymar said: “What I would most like is to return to playing with Messi… next year we have to do it.”
The pair formed a successful pairing at Barcelona over the four years from 2013 to 2017, with Luis Suarez also part of arguably the most fearsome forward trio in the game at that time.
PSG, meanwhile, could make room for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner in their roster by offloading Kylian Mbappe to Real Madrid.
Although the World Cup winner is seen as their marquee player, he too is out of contract in 2022 and there is no guarantee he will sign fresh terms. Recent reports suggest, however, that talks are progressing nicely.
Nevertheless, if there was to be a U-turn in negotiations, there would be a void in the side for Messi.
Even with PSG’s formidable financial wealth due to their Qatar-based owners, it is difficult to conceive that they could afford to sign all three players at the same time.
Neymar has certainly made his case clear. From his perspective, a return to Barcelona in time for next term is impossible. The Catalans do not have the money for his salary, let alone his transfer fee, having been told to slash their wage bill.
Manchester City, where ex-Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola has recently committed his future, have been most closely associated with Messi previously.