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Barcelona's Juliano Belletti Talks Neymar, Philippe Coutinho Transfer Rumours

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2019

TERESOPOLIS, BRAZIL - MAY 28: Philippe Coutinho (C) and Neymar Jr (R) compete for the ball during a training session of the Brazilian national football team at the squad's Granja Comary training complex on May 28, 2019 in Teresopolis, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Barcelona ambassador Juliano Belletti has addressed the transfer speculation surrounding compatriots Neymar and Philippe Coutinho, urging the former to choose the club that makes him happy and admitting the latter does not "function well" in the Blaugrana team. 

Per Marca's Ramiro Aldunate, Belletti spoke to the press during an event in Miami, and he said he doesn't know where Neymar will end up:

"The only thing that is not possible is [Neymar] not to play football again. Anything else is always possible, but I do not I have any idea what Neymar wants, as I haven't talked to him or his father for a long time.

"I don't know if he wants to come back or not. Neymar is one of the best in the world and what he should look for is to be happy again. I wish that for the good of the Brazilian national team."

SHENZHEN, CHINA - AUGUST 03:  Neymar Jr of Paris Saint-Germain looks on during the 2019 Trophee des Champions between Paris saint-Germain and Stade Rennais FC at Shenzhen Uniersiade Sports Center on August 3, 2019 in Shenzhen, China.  (Photo by Lintao Zha
Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

On Coutinho, he said manager Ernesto Valverde should be delighted to have him in his squad:

"Coutinho is here so [Barcelona] count on him. It seems that he does not function very well in the team. He had a spectacular Copa America and is a great player. Competitiveness is always good in a team and if I were [Ernesto] Valverde I would be delighted to have him with me. Everyone expected the performances he had at Liverpool, but having this player at Barcelona is a privilege."

Per the report, Neymar has made it clear he doesn't want to stay at Paris Saint-Germain. He is believed to be keen on returning to the Camp Nou two years after leaving.

He returned to pre-season late, prompting PSG to release a statement via their official website. The 27-year-old hasn't featured in any pre-season friendly or the French Super Cup, as he was suspended for the latter. It led to some awkward celebrations:

Jonathan Johnson @Jon_LeGossip

Toe Poke Daily -- Neymar pulled into & pushed out of PSG Trophee des Champions celebrations - https://t.co/Y6QLQBErxT - Via @ESPNFC. #PSGSRFC #TdC

Team-mate Marco Verratti has openly discussed the Brazilian's desire to leave:

Goal @goal

🗣 Marco Verratti on Neymar: "When a player really wants to leave, the club must let him go, according to the conditions set by the club, of course. But you must not keep a player who wants to leave. Of course, I would be disappointed to see him go." Do you agree? https://t.co/y1k5e8RQIH

PSG paid a world-record fee to bring him to Paris just two years ago, however, and will not be inclined to let him walk unless it is on their terms. Barcelona have already spent a large chunk of their transfer budget on the likes of Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong, complicating a move for Neymar.

One possibility could be to either use Coutinho in a swap deal or move him elsewhere, raising funds for Neymar. The former Liverpool man was the subject of several transfer rumours on Monday:

B/R Football @brfootball

Today: —Coutinho linked to Arsenal by @BilelGhazi —Arsenal's Coutinho interest denied by @FabrizioRomano —Mauricio Pochettino calls Coutinho via @SkySports 🍿 https://t.co/es9xCDLjJ6

His spell at the Camp Nou has not been a great one so far, failing to fully settle down in the past 18 months. Barcelona appear ready to move on from the Brazilian, even if Belletti urged the club not to.