Neymar Insists He Would Never Have Picked Manchester City over Barcelona

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2014

BARCELONA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 15:  Neymar of FC Barcelona looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Rayo Vallecano de Madrid at Camp Nou on February 15, 2014 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona superstar Neymar has reiterated his love for the Camp Nou club, insisting he would never have joined Manchester City.

Prior to last summer's £50 million Spanish switch, the former Santos starlet was being linked with the Citizens, as well as a host of other European giants.

SAN SEBASTIAN, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 12:  Neymar of FC Barcelona looks on from the bench prior to the Copa del Rey Semi Final second leg between Real Sociedad and FC Barcelona at Anoeta Stadium on February 12, 2014 in San Sebastian, Spain.  (Photo by David Ram
David Ramos/Getty Images

The Daily Mail's Charlie Skillen quotes Neymar saying it was all about joining "the right team at the right time," and for him, Barcelona was that option:

I knew there were other teams interestedbut I would not have chosen Manchester City or anybody else. When I knew of Barcelona's interest it was an easy choicethey were in my heart right away. We sat down as a family to make the decisionbut there was only ever one choice.

I could have left Brazil earlier than I didbut I knew for my development it was about joining the right team at the right time.

The Brazilian's comments are made just prior to Barca's Champions League clash against Manuel Pellegrini's side on Tuesday evening, with City hosting the first of a two-legged affair in the competition's Round of 16.

Sky Sports' Daniel Storey believes the hosts may, however, have the beating of Neymar in their man-to-man coverage:

The attacker's introduction to life in Europe has been a carefully handled project thus far. Neymar recently missed a month through injury, but he returned to La Liga action last weekend, scoring in a 6-0 win over Rayo Vallecano.

He was released from the bench in that game and will likely find himself there again for Tuesday's European encounter.

As Gerardo Martino would have expected given the size of the transfer, Neymar has already gone down a treat with La Blaugrana, netting seven goals and making eight assists in his first 17 La Liga appearances, per Transfermarkt.

His impact is further emphasised by the fact that in 12 league starts, Neymar has failed to claim a goal or an assist on just two occasions.

For now, though, all eyes are on what the boy wonder can do on Europe's most prestigious stage, with Martino's men facing a Manchester City side currently just three points away from the Premier League summit and having bagged 42 goals at home this league term.

That being said, Neymar's concentration will be solely on what difference he can make for his club on Tuesday evening, the side which he now calls home.