Real Madrid aren't willing to give up on their pursuit of Barcelona maestro Neymar and have reportedly added the Brazil superstar to a 12-man summer-transfer shortlist featuring some of Europe's biggest names.
That's according to Spanish newspaper Marca, who claimed Los Merengues will target the Blaugrana talisman as they look to make changes across their squad at the end of this season.
Zinedine Zidane's side will reportedly look to the likes of Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea, Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Marquinhos, Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba and Neymar to rejuvenate their lineup.
Those names feature on a star-studded list that also includes Robert Lewandowski, Eden Hazard, Ricardo Rodriguez, Aymeric Laporte and more. 101 Great Goals provided a glimpse of Marca's Friday front cover depicting the shopping list of players in full:
101 Great Goals @101greatgoals
Real Madrid identify shortlist of 12 players to target this summer [Marca] https://t.co/9p37xwVAm1 https://t.co/4zPmrMLY8d3/11/2016, 8:49:19 AM
Los Blancos were among the other teams who competed to sign Neymar from Santos in 2013 before eventually losing to bitter rivals Barca, but that hasn't stopped the transfer speculation coming thick and fast.
Barcelona sporting director Robert Fernandez recently appeared on Teledeporte programme Estudio Estudio and reassured fans Neymar is going nowhere (h/t Sport): "I made it very clear a fortnight ago, and I'll say it again now, Neymar will be staying here and there'll be no issues. He will stay at Barcelona. I'd be concerned about it if he wasn't happy, but that is clearly not the case. I’m saying outright: he will stay at Barca."
Camp Nou supporters could hardly hope for a more forthcoming promise from the club's hierarchy regarding the future of their star asset, but there are factors in play that could yet seed some doubt in the matter.
Chief among those are allegations of tax evasion and corruption that currently keep Neymar locked in a court battle, although Friday brought the news the case against Barcelona and several high-ranking club officials had been suspended, per Football Espana.
That news meant Neymar and Barca are one step closer to moving past the ordeal after Sky Sports' South American correspondent Paulo Freitas reported in February that a similar case in Brazil had been dropped:
Paulo Freitas @Cynegeticus
Brazil's Federal Justice has dismissed the Federal Public Ministry's tax evasion/fraud accusation against Neymar/his father/Rosell/Bartomeu.2/4/2016, 10:05:20 PM
Neymar's adaptation to European football has been short and sweet, winning a European and domestic treble in just his second season with Barca before finishing third in last year's Ballon d'Or voting.
Team-mate Gerard Pique also recently weighed in on the debate as to whether Real Madrid would be getting their hands on his colleague at any point in the future, to which he replied, per Sport: "I would bet an arm or a hand that he will never go to Madrid. He likes Barcelona, is in love with the club and the city and I think he will stay here for many years."
Real Madrid once pulled off a major coup in bringing Luis Figo to the Santiago Bernabeu from Barcelona in 2000, and Neymar would have to complete a similar betrayal of the Camp Nou faithful if he were to follow that path.
No matter how unlikely it seems, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez doesn't appear willing to take no for an answer as Los Merengues ready to launch another summer hunt for one of the world's brightest gems.
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