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Neymar Insists on Reunion With Lionel Messi Next Season

Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, and the Brazilian’s comments on Wednesday night after the victory at Manchester United appear to suggest he wants former team-mate Lionel Messi to join him in the French capital

Neymar left Barcelona in 2017 and has suggested he would like former team-mate Lionel Messi to join him at PSG
Image: Neymar left Barcelona in 2017 and has suggested he would like former team-mate Lionel Messi to join him at PSG

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has expressed his desired to play with former team-mate Lionel Messi next season.

Messi wanted to leave Barcelona in the summer, but reluctantly stayed after now-former president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted the Argentine’s €700m release clause had to be met in order for him to depart.

The 33-year-old’s contract at the Nou Camp expires at the end of this season, making him free to negotiate with other clubs from January.

Manchester City’s chief operating officer claimed the Premier League club have the financial strength to sign Messi, but head coach Pep Guardiola recently cooled talk of a possible reunion by insisting he wants the six-time Ballon d’Or winner to see out his career at Barca.

Neymar, however, has openly admitted he wants to play with Messi again, and though the former had been linked with a return to Barca, his comments suggest he would prefer the Argentine to join him in Paris.

“What I want most of all is to play with Messi again, to be able to enjoy him once again on the pitch,” Neymar told ESPN after PSG’s 3-1 win at Manchester United on Wednesday night.

“He can play in my place, I have no problem with that. But I want to play with him next year, for sure. We have to do it next season.”

The formidable trio of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar inspired Barcelona to the 2015 treble
Image:The formidable trio of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar inspired Barcelona to the 2015 treble

Neymar left Barca for PSG in 2017, joining for a world-record £200m and going on to win three straight Ligue 1 titles as well as two French Cups and two League Cups.

In August PSG reached their first Champions League final, losing to Bayern Munich 1-0, and after the disappointment, Neymar vowed to remain with the French club and try to win the competition the following year.

Neymar
Image:Neymar missed out on the Champions League with PSG in August

Defeats to United and RB Leipzig left PSG in a precarious position in their 2020-21 Champions League groupafter just three matches played, but the French champions have since roared back into contention by winning both reverse fixtures.

Neymar’s double in the 3-1 win at Old Trafford on Wednesday saw PSG join United and Leipzig on nine points with one round remaining.

United travel to Leipzig on December 8 in what appears to be a straight shootout for the knockout stages, with PSG hosting Istanbul Basaksehir at the same time.

No stopping brilliant Neymar

Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:

How do you stop Neymar?

Aaron Wan-Bissaka did a fine job of it when Manchester United travelled to Paris in October and Scott McTominay seemed to be handling him well at Old Trafford in the first half, getting under his skin to the extent that the Brazilian had to be hauled down the tunnel by his team-mates at the break.

Neymar scored PSG's first and third goals at Old Trafford
Image:Neymar scored PSG’s first and third goals at Old Trafford

But Neymar had the final say, his quality ultimately proving too much – as it so often does. The 28-year-old took his first goal brilliantly, rifling home from an acute angle after a Kylian Mbappe effort deflected into his path, but it was his second, in the first minute of stoppage time, which killed the game and underlined just how special he is.

It started deep in PSG territory, with a dragback which took him away from his compatriot Alex Telles. He then left Bruno Fernandes in his wake, before skipping away from Harry Maguire. His pass to Mbappe was perfect, and seconds later he was in the right place at the right time to turn Rafinha’s cut-back into the empty Manchester United net.

Sometimes there is no stopping him.

SkySports

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