Barcelona striker Luis Suarez said team-mate Gerard Pique's comments should be taken with a pinch of salt after he said the players were prepared to help the club finance Neymar's return.
After a summer of speculation that the Brazil international would rejoin Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain, for whom he left the Camp Nou in 2017, Pique said in October he and his team-mates offered to help to make it happen, per Tom Allnutt of AFP:
But speaking to Sport's Jordi Gil, Suarez said:
"Sometimes you have to take what Geri says with a pinch of salt. He has the gift of the gab and a lot of experience in making comments.
"In this case, he knows and is completely aware that the players were completely removed from the Ney case.
"We were ready to welcome him—him or any other player that wants to come—but always distanced from what was going on."
Suarez and Lionel Messi were close friends with Neymar during the Brazilian's time at the club, and the trio formed a potent front three at the Camp Nou. During the three seasons they played together up front, Barcelona won two La Liga titles, three Copas del Rey and the UEFA Champions League. In La Liga, the team scored 110, 112 and 116 goals in those campaigns.
Football reporter Lee Roden gave his take on Pique's comments about the club's desire to bring back Neymar:
Pique may not be the most reliable source of information on the Brazilian, though. At the height of speculation prior to his departure, the centre-back infamously tweeted a photo with him along with an assertion that he would stay at the Camp Nou:
Neymar made his world-record move to the Parc des Princes less than two weeks later.
The forward racked up 105 goals and 76 assists in 186 appearances for the Blaugrana and was a key contributor to the club's success during his time in Catalonia. Given he was also a popular figure in the dressing room, it's hardly surprising if his former team-mates were hoping he would return in the summer amid the speculation over his future.
Rumours of a move back to Barca will likely resurface when the transfer window reopens in January.
For now, Barcelona seem to have dodged an expensive bullet in failing to secure his return in the summer because injuries have restricted him to just five appearances for PSG this season.