Barcelona chief puts Neymar return talk to bed once and for all

Date published: Tuesday 5th February 2019 10:40

Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre has virtually ended the speculation that Neymar could return to the Camp Nou.

The Brazilian left Barca for Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017 for a world-record transfer fee of £200million, but he left in acrimonious circumstances.

 

Neymar signed a new five-year deal at Barcelona in July 2016, which included an €8.5million renewal bonus, and Mestre has claimed the forward left Barcelona in the dark over his intentions, which ended up costing the LaLiga club “a lot of money”.

Despite the manner of his exit the 27-year-old has still almost continuously been linked with a return to the club, with the Evening Standard only last month reporting Barca would sell Philippe Coutinho to fund a return for Neymar.

Those stories seem wide of the mark though, with Mestre revealing the depth of ill feeling Neymar’s departure caused in Catalonia.

Mestre told Sport: “In football terms, Neymar is a crack – one of the best in the world. Personally, I believe, as a matter of principle, that Barca should not let him return.

“In any case, I think that it is very, very unlikely that Neymar wears our colours again. First of all, for economic reasons, and secondly, he is a PSG player – their president [Nasser Al-Khelaifi] will do the impossible to keep hold of him.

“Neymar irritated us [when he left in 2017]. They [Neymar and his representatives] promised us one thing, but the reality was different. Fortunately, we realised in time – before paying a premium for a contract extension. Neymar’s father was playing two different games.”

Mestre previously claimed Neymar’s exit 18 months ago “hurt” him personally.

“We would have saved a lot of money and a lot of media noise,” said Mestre in February 2018.

“What hurt me the most was the way it happened.”

Mestre said: “If he came to us and said, ‘I want to go’, we would have reached an agreement. What you can’t do is rock the boat.

 

 

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