Marquinhos Says It Will Be 'Hard to Keep' Neymar at PSG Amid Exit Rumours

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJune 24, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (C) celebrates with Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar (R) and Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian defender Marquinhos after he scored a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Olympique de Lyon (OL) on October 7, 2018 at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP)        (Photo credit should read ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP/Getty Images)
ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos has said it will be "hard to keep" Neymar at the club, but the 25-year-old hopes his Brazil team-mate will stay at the Parc des Princes despite rumours of an exit.

Speculation regarding Neymar's potential departure has swirled for months, and Marquinhos acknowledged the difficulty in keeping his compatriot in a recent interview with L'Equipe (h/t Goal's Jack McGraghan):

“It's difficult to recruit a player like him into your club and it's hard to keep him, but I hope he'll continue with us. He is an important player, he's also a friend, a guy I love, and I really hope he'll stay. We have not talked about his future, I guess there are already a lot of people who only talk to him about it.

“He's a friend, so we just wanted to know if he was feeling better, mentally and physically. He can make movements with his foot, he can already hit the ball a little at home. At the beginning of this he was really sad but today he is better, and that's why it made us happy to see it.”

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Neymar, 27, joined PSG from Barcelona in the summer of 2017 but has been linked with a return to Spain—either with the Blaugrana or rivals Real Madrid—for almost the entirety of his stay in Paris.

The forward is missing Brazil's 2019 Copa America campaign due to an ankle injury. Another of his PSG team-mates, Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani, wished Neymar well and that he recovers "as soon as possible," via Goal:

Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018 as a form of replacement for Neymar, but his stay at the Camp Nou hasn't been a great personal success.

Coutinho, 27, is close friends with Neymar, and he spoke glowingly of his countryman after playing a role in Brazil's 5-0 win over Peru at the 2019 Copa America on Saturday. 

Per Alvaro Olmedo of Marca, he said: "To play with Neymar is incredible. He is a superstar. I don't know what will happen, but it's always a source of happiness to speak about playing with him."

Journalist Miguel Delaney said in a recent appearance on BBC 5 Live Sport that there's a concern he's grown complacent in Paris:

There are reports of a move back to Barcelona, although the Catalan club would still need to meet PSG's valuation of the player to tempt them into a sale. 

French football writer Jeremy Smith recently cited reports that PSG don't want to sell their record €222 million signing despite signs of unrest, as well as Real's continued interest:

Sport (h/t Metro) reported Neymar has already informed the Barca dressing room he's on his way back to the club via a WhatsApp group he shares with some of his former team-mates. 

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