Andres Iniesta Says Barcelona Return for Neymar Would Be 'Difficult'

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2018

Barcelona and Spain midfielder Andrés Iniesta (L) and Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar (R) hold their awards as members of the team winning the FIFA FIFPro World11 award 2017, during The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony, on October 23, 2017 in London. / AFP PHOTO / Ben STANSALL        (Photo credit should read BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Barcelona icon Andres Iniesta said he thinks it would be "difficult" for his former club to bring Neymar back for a second spell.

Neymar left the Blaugrana in 2017 after Paris Saint-Germain triggered his release clause, with the Ligue 1 side making the Brazilian the most expensive player in the history of the game.

Despite the high-profile move, speculation has lingered about Neymar's future, as he's been linked with a move back to La Liga with either Barca or Real Madrid. Speaking to Cadena Ser (h/t Chris Burton of Goal), Iniesta said he doubts we'll see Neymar donning the Blaugrana colours again.

"I think it's difficult," said the 34-year-old midfielder, who now plays his football with Vissel Kobe in Japan's J1 League. "Obviously, Neymar continues to be one of the best, and in any team, he would make a difference. But it's not easy to return."

While the pair played together at Barcelona for four seasons, Iniesta said he wouldn't be too bothered if the PSG star did end up joining their bitter rivals Real.

"It wouldn't hurt me because they are decisions that, if they happen, happen," he said. "Madrid would reinforce themselves with a unique player."

Iniesta left Barcelona in the summer after having earned a reputation as one of the finest footballers to ever represent the club:

Squawka Football @Squawka

Andres Iniesta's record for Barcelona: 📅 16 seasons 🚶‍♂️ 669 games ⚽ 57 goals 🏆 8 LaLiga 🏆 6 Copa del Rey 🏆 7 Supercopa de España 🏆 4 Champions League 🏆 3 Super Cup 🏆 3 Club World Cup One final LaLiga on its way... then that's it. 😢 https://t.co/rvoMeUobry

Neymar also made a lot of history at Barcelona, with his attacking linkup with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez mesmeric at times. The trio is regarded as one of the best forward lines in the history of the game.

Together they helped Barca to a treble in the 2014-15 season that included the UEFA Champions League title; Neymar added one more La Liga title and two more Copas del Rey with Messi and Suarez before moving on.

In 2017 he moved to PSG in a shock deal and has excelled for the Parisian outfit. This season he's once again proving to be a major threat in the final third:

WhoScored.com @WhoScored

GOAL! Monaco 0-4 PSG No player in Europe's top five leagues has been directly involved in more goals than Neymar this season (15) Follow the action live -- https://t.co/wi6sifPwI7

Neymar will have ambitions of winning the Champions League with PSG this season after the team came up short last term, while repeating the domestic treble of 2017-18 will be a minimum expectation.

There continues to be buzz about Neymar potentially moving on, though. It was reported by Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana) last month that the Brazilian would be open to coming back to Barca, while Real Madrid issued a statement in the summer denying reports that said they were eyeing the player.

The Spanish Football Podcast relayed the key points of the Mundo Deportivo report:

The Spanish Football Podcast @tsf_podcast

“The keys” to Neymar’s Barça return, according to Mundo Deportivo: 1. Not being considered for the Ballon d’Or or The Best 2. Mbappé has overshadowed him with his goals 3. He’s “nostalgic” for the Barca dressing room and his life in BCN https://t.co/qpNLnwyFQJ

Neymar's departure would have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many at Barca, and it'd be intriguing to see how the fans would react to a possible return. Even so, after signing Philippe Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele in big-money moves, it'd be a shock if they were to move for the forward.

Madrid, having failed to sign a natural replacement to Cristiano Ronaldo, feel more likely suitors at this point, although prising away a world-class player from PSG would be a big challenge.