Barcelona forward Neymar has hit out at a journalist who claimed he had dinner in the Spanish capital on Thursday, amid rumours of interest from Real Madrid.
As reported by Sport, the Brazil skipper has released a video in which he called Cadena Cope’s Manolo Lama out; the reporter had made the claims on El Partido de las 12.
Needless to say, Neymar is not happy about the allegations made (warning, expletive language used), per the Actual Futbol Twitter feed:
As noted in the piece, the accompanying caption on the video read “message for the journalist who talks s--t.”
Per Sport, Neymar, who is accompanied by his father in the clip, claimed “Manolo Lama, you have said that yesterday I was in Madrid. To start to tell the truth, you're a fool.”
Since the video has emerged, Lama has apologised for the claims made, although he noted his sources remain confident the initial report was correct. "Those that told me they saw [Neymar] in Madrid [on Thursday night] still swear that it was him," he said, per Goal.com. "Neymar, I promise that I believe you and I apologise.”
There has been a swell of stories linking Neymar with a possible move to Real Madrid in recent weeks, prompting the Camp Nou crowd to chant for him to stay with the club and even unfurling banners reading “Neymar is not Figo.”
Luis Figo infamously moved from Barca to Real in 2000 in a world-record deal, per AS English:
AS English @English_AS
Chants of "Neymar stay" & this banner "Neymar is not Figo" at Camp Nou this evening. #copadelrey #FCBAthletic https://t.co/pJypCYHCP61/27/2016, 9:34:24 PM
According to Lluis Mascaro of Sport, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez wants the Brazilian to replace Cristiano Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu. He would reportedly part with €190 million to meet Neymar’s release clause and offer the player a €30 million signing-on fee.
There were also suggestions that Neymar had met with Madrid officials during the recent Ballon d’Or ceremony in Zurich. However, the Blaugrana vice-president Jordi Mestre denied there is any chance of the 23-year-old leaving the club, per Marca (h/t Goal).
Spanish football expert Rafael Hernandez feels as though this clip effectively ends any slender chances of Neymar making the move from Catalonia to the capital:
Rafael Hernández @RafaelH117
Stuff like this pretty much confirms he’ll really never go to Real Madrid. His father being in the video kills it. https://t.co/gxMxXnma1u1/29/2016, 7:02:34 PM
Indeed, it’d be a big surprise to see Neymar swap La Liga allegiances. At the moment, he’s developing into a wonderful footballer with Barcelona and is well on course to becoming the best player in the world.
A move to Real wouldn’t necessarily halt that development, but it’d be a big gamble on the part of the player, given all the furore that would accompany such a switch.
Nevertheless, if Neymar wants to continue winning trophies on a regular basis, Barcelona, where he has been tearing defences apart alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, remains the ideal club to do so.