Lionel Messi Reportedly Wants Neymar to Make Barcelona Return from PSG

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IOctober 29, 2018

Barcelona's Lionel Messi, left, and Neymar, right, stand on the field during a break in the action during the first half of an International Champions Cup soccer match against Real Madrid, Saturday, July 29, 2017, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi reportedly wants his club to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain. 

According to Miguel Delaney at the Independent, the Argentinian is a "prime mover" in plans to re-sign Neymar and "would be perfectly willing to welcome" the Brazilian back.

Neymar moved to PSG in the summer of 2017 but is unsettled and unhappy in France, per Delaney. Messi has already discussed the possibility of his former team-mate returning with club officials, per the report.

Messi was one of the reasons Neymar opted to leave Barcelona, according to PSG team-mate Dani Alves. The full-back said his compatriot "had to come out of his shadow a little," per Jonathan Johnson at ESPN FC.

Neymar enjoyed a successful first season in Ligue 1. He helped the club win a domestic treble, but they were unsuccessful in the UEFA Champions League and were knocked out by Real Madrid in the round of 16.

The Brazilian has also found himself overshadowed by teenage talent Kylian Mbappe. The 19-year-old has emerged as one of the brightest young players in the world and helped France win the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Mbappe has been in superb form again this season and is the first player across Europe's top five leagues to score 10 goals:

B/R Football @brfootball

🔥 @KMbappe 🔥 https://t.co/Re86izAjIV

Goal's Robin Bairner said he's PSG best player:

Robin Bairner @RBairner

#Neymar is great, but there's little doubt that #Mbappe is currently #PSG's best player. His influence off the bench was tremendous. Another decisive display from Di Maria, too. https://t.co/cr68FZjzeT

Neymar is reportedly keen to return to Barcelona and has been in contact over a possible return, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Moises Llorens at AS).

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has played down speculation the club will re-sign Neymar in an interview with Monica Terribas of Catalunya Radio (h/t Sport).

"Neymar will not return to Barcelona. He won't come back, nor are there plans to bring him back," he said. "There's been no call and no meeting. There's been no contact. We don't like it that players pay their clauses and leave."

Neymar also branded speculation over his future "fake news" in a video posted on Instagram stories, per Johnson.

Given the acrimonious nature of Neymar's departure, with PSG paying his €222 million release clause, it will not be easy for the Brazilian to return to Barcelona. 

His departure was a shock with Barcelona unused to seeing their best players depart, particularly for a league that is widely regarded as being inferior.

Barcelona have also successfully moved on since his departure. The club won a league and cup double last season and have invested heavily in the squad by bringing in players such as Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Arthur.