Lionel Messi: Some at Barcelona Oppose Neymar's Return, Would Be 'Difficult'

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistOctober 18, 2019

A combination of images shows (L-R) Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian striker Neymar and Real Madrid's Portuguese forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar was named alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the three-man shortlist for the Best FIFA Men's Player Award, which was announced in London on September 22, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Lluis GENE        (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has said Neymar's potential return to the club is complicated due to the fact some at the Camp Nou don't want the Brazilian to come back.

Neymar, 27, joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona for a world-record €222 million fee in 2017, leaving Catalonia on bad terms regarding a contract bonus he was paid prior to his exit. 

Messi, 32, recently appeared on Metro 95.1 (h/t Goal) and said a potential reunion is complicated for a number of reasons: "It is difficult to bring him back. Firstly, because it was difficult to see him leave, secondly because of how he left. There are people from the club and the members who do not want him to return. If it is for sports, Ney is one of the best in the world, but I understand all the other factors."

That's aside from any financial obstacles that should arise—and there could be numerous considering the scale of his departure.

Neymar is contracted at the Parc des Princes until summer 2022, and it seems unlikely PSG would be willing to let the player leave for a deal worth less than that which they paid for him.

Messi spoke to RAC1 (h/t ESPN FC) earlier in October and admitted he feared Neymar would join rivals Real Madrid this past summer:

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The Argentinian spoke to Sport in September and said Neymar was "desperate" to move back to the Camp Nou following two years in France. PSG have continued to dominate domestically for the most part since Neymar's arrival, though they've still struggled to go further in the UEFA Champions League.

Journalist Julien Laurens appeared on BBC 5 Live Sport shortly after the summer transfer window and explained finances were the main sticking point in why a reunion didn't materialise this year:

It's understandable that members at Barcelona may hold some resentment towards Neymar for the manner in which he left the club.

Santi Gimenez of AS reported in September that the lawsuits between the two parties were ongoing: Neymar is suing Barcelona for €26 million (£22.4 million) he feels is owed as part of a bonus, while the Blaugrana are countersuing their former forward for €75 million (£64.6 million). 

Neymar was recently sidelined again but has been a success for PSG when fit, via BT Sport:

The window of opportunity for Neymar to rejoin Barcelona is getting smaller as time wears on, and the Brazilian appears to have opponents at his old stomping ground who won't advocate his return.

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