“One of the best players in the world.” This is what FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi felt about Neymar and said that he would have “loved” to have him back in an interview with Sport.
“I would have loved to have Neymar back. I understand those people who are against his return and it’s understandable for what happened with ‘Ney’ and the way that he left,” Messi said. But thinking about it on a sporting level, I personally think Neymar is one of the best players in the world and having him in our squad would increase our chances of achieving our objectives. But, in the end, it didn’t happen and we have to only think about the squad we have and focus on our goals.”
“I wanted him to come not just for the sporting side of things but also for the club. In terms of the image, marketing, sponsorships and to keep growing. It would have given the club a lift too. But it didn’t happen.”
“To be honest, I don’t know,” Messi said when asked about how much did the club make an effort to bring him back. “I didn’t have much information about how the negotiations were going to say whether or not Barcelona did everything possible.”
“I don’t know what happened with the board. I know that I spoke with Ney and he told me how things were going. He was desperate to come back. I don’t know if the club really tried or not. What I do know, Neymar was hoping it would happen. I also understand it’s very difficult to negotiate with PSG after all their previous back and forth issues with Barcelona. And it’s difficult because Neymar is one of the best around. Negotiations are never easy. I can’t offer an opinion because I don’t know everything. I know what was published and what they said.”
Though he seemed optimistic about the Barcelona without Neymar, he reiterated that he would have loved to play alongside him.
” I would have liked for him to return but I think we have a spectacular squad and we can achieve everything without him. So no, I’m not disappointed. Only I would have liked to play alongside him again, that’s all,” Messi said in the interview.
Earlier, it was reported that Barcelona were preparing a lifetime contract for their talisman, who, according to a clause in his contract, could leave for free at the end of the season.
Talking about his contract, Messi said, “My idea is to continue here for as long as I can perform well and my body allows me to do that. Afterwards, as I said before, my contract isn’t something that worries me or even something I manage myself. My father handles that with the president or whoever he needs to talk to. I only express my thoughts.”
“I want to win and I want to win at this club. This is my home. I don’t have any intention of going anywhere but I want to keep competing and winning.”
Messi has been sidelined due to a calf injury since his late return to the club after serving Argentina in Copa America. Though it was initially considered minor, it was reported a few days back that Messi would miss Barcelona’s fourth game in the league against Valencia, and is also doubtful for their Champions League opener against Dortmund.
When asked about the injury, he said, “I feel better. It was really bad because it happened on my first day back and it originally looked to be something minor but, in reality, I have been out of action for the past 15 days. Now, I know what it is and I feel more at ease. I will return when I feel I have fully recovered.”
“I am still training on my own and I do not have a fixed date for my return. I will do tests and when we see that I am 100% fit, I’ll be ready. I won’t play against Valencia and we’ll see if I’ll be fit in time for Dortmund or Granada. But as I said, I don’t have a fixed date to return.”