Neymar Says He Will Stay at PSG This Summer Despite Real Madrid Transfer Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2018

Brazilian PSG's footballer Neymar Junior, arrives to participate in the charity auction of the Neymar Jr. Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 19, 2018. (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP)        (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has said he will be staying at the club this summer, despite continued links to Real Madrid

Los Blancos have twice issued public statements dismissing their interest in the player, although it was recently reported by El Transistor (h/t AS) that PSG may be willing to sell the forward this summer.

However, when asked about a possible move in this window by Fox Sports Brasil (h/t Sacha Pisani of Goal), the star said he will not be going anywhere.

"I'll stay," he said. "I have a contract with PSG, and I've chosen to be there for the challenge, for new things and higher goals. I won't change my mind about it. I hope we can have a successful season, with new silverware, too. The press enjoys creating rumours, but everyone knows how much I care about PSG."

Madrid's decision to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus this summer has only served to intensify the speculation, as it's anticipated Los Blancos will be on the hunt for a star name.

According to El Transistor, PSG would be more willing to sell Neymar to the European champions this summer than Kylian Mbappe. After the teenager enjoyed a stunning 2018 FIFA World Cup, helping France to glory in Russia, Neymar was full of praise for his talents and said he can't wait to line up with him next season:

Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip

Neymar on Kylian Mbappe: "Kylian is a phenomenon -- a great player. People who are with him every single day have known this for a while. I am very happy, very happy, that his World Cup was a massive success. I speak with him most days -- we talk a lot." #PSG

As noted by football writer Rupert Fryer, at times during the tournament it felt as though either player could potentially end up at Madrid:

Rupert Fryer @Rupert_Fryer

Mbappe vs Neymar: Who will win t̶h̶e̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶s̶i̶g̶n̶ ̶f̶o̶r̶ ̶R̶e̶a̶l̶ ̶M̶a̶d̶r̶i̶d̶ the World Cup?

PSG, however, will be desperate to keep this devastating duo intact, especially given there were signs of promise between the pair last season.

Although Neymar's campaign was brought to a premature end in February due to injury, both caused a lot of problems for opposition defences when played together. 

Neymar's arrival was a huge coup for PSG, as they were able to prise the Brazilian away from Barcelona for a world-record fee. In Ligue 1, as these figures illustrate, he was able to tear it up:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Neymar for PSG in Ligue 1 this season: 20 games 142 take-ons 104 fouls won 90 shots 69 chances created 19 goals 13 assists Bonkers numbers: Player of the Season 🏆 https://t.co/Ustfui8IeD

Yet the forward wasn't brought in to win domestic titles, as PSG have mainly been the dominant force in French football for a while now. The splurge to capture Mbappe and Neymar appeared geared towards UEFA Champions League success.

Last season PSG faltered in the first knockout round to eventual winners Real Madrid, with Neymar's season-ending injury coming between the two legs of the tie. 

However, French football writer Jeremy Smith suggested the Brazilian's presence may be a hindrance for the team:

Jeremy Smith @jeremysmith98

Neymar not at the Parc to celebrate his team's (and employer's) title because he's playing poker. I'd suggest the fact that that kind of thing is allowed to happen goes a long way to explaining their failure to progress in the Champions League.

Yet it's tough to see PSG being willing to let Neymar go after just one season. Not only is he still one of the best footballers on the planet, getting the transfer done last summer would've been at the expense of significant effort.

Madrid will continue to be linked with the player, at least until they bring in someone who can help fill some of the Ronaldo void. But PSG fans will be content that their star man appears happy in the French capital.