Lionel Messi and Neymar
Lionel Messi and Neymar

The preseason for Barcelona was all about getting back Neymar, who had left them for PSG in 2017. And it seemed the same for Neymar. At least untill leaving PSG, even if not for Barcelona. But it was not to be. Neymar’s move remained only till the talks, and it never went furhter.

Speaking about Neymar’s trasfer saga to radio station RAC1, Lionel Messi felt that he would have went to Real Madrid when his move to Barcelona could not be finalised.

“I honestly thought that in this market, if he did not come here, he would go to Madrid,” Messi said. “He was really looking forward to leaving and making a change, and he thought that Florentino Perez and Madrid would do something to sign him.”

Real Madrid were on a spending spree in summer, when their signings included Eden Hazard from Chelsea, Luka Jovic from Eintracht Frankfurt and Eder Militao from Porto. They were also believed to be in talks for a while with PSG for Neymar’s trasfer and Messi believes that his former team-mate regretted the decision to swap Camp Nou in favour of a switch to France.

“I think so [he regretted the decision], shortly after he left he realised that he was wrong and that he had made a bad decision. It would be necessary to ask him but, knowing him and seeing what happened, I think so.

“Having had him on the team would have given us more options but I understand that the signing of Neymar is not only looked at for sporting reasons but also for having left the way he did. There are those who didn’t want him to return – it’s understandable. It was complicated.”

Messi, who missed a major part of the season so far from injury, has recently played his first 90 minutes of the season so far. In the match against Sevilla, Messi, apart from scoring yet another free kick, tried to save Osumane Dembele from getting a red card, saying he could not speak Spanish.

“I told the referee that it’s very difficult for me to say something like that because it’s hard for him to form sentences [in Spanish],” he said. “The coach supported me at a press conference. We were surprised that the referee understood him so clearly because it’s still difficult for him to speak Spanish.”