July 19, 2017

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has apparently informed BBC Sport that Neymar will not be leaving the club; it follows reports this week that Paris Saint-Germain have offered to meet the Brazilian superstar's €220m release clause, twice the current world transfer record.

Long-standing claims have resurfaced that Neymar is increasingly frustrated at being in Lionel Messi's shadow at Camp Nou.

Initial rumours of renewed PSG interest were met with comments from Barça vice-president Jordi Mestre insisting that he is '200% sure' the player won't be leaving.

Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after scoring during the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) final football match FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves at the Vicente Calderon stadium in Madrid on May 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Josep LAGO (Photo credit should read JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images)
JOSEP LAGO/GettyImages

But after that came the sensational report from Brazil that Neymar had accepted PSG's offer, and now Bartomeu has denied any such deal will happen. BBC's story carries no actual quotes, although it seems the Barça president has been directly contacted over the matter.

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, South American football expert Tim Vickery explained exactly why Neymar might be tempted to quit Catalunya and head to Paris, suggesting it is 'no coincidence' this has come to light in the wake of Messi signing a huge new contract.

"FIFA World Player of the Year is an absolute obsession in Brazil. Between 1994 and 2007, five Brazilians won it on eight different occasions. That set the bar for the subsequent generations," Vickery commented.

"Neymar had seen the degree of difficulty in European club football was going to be strong. So that was the idea of going to Barcelona and being in Messi's shadow - great, pressure off. But after a while, that shadow stops being refreshing and starts being cold, because you can't be FIFA World Player of the Year if you're not even the outstanding player in your own team.

"I think it's absolutely no coincidence that this speculation has emerged shortly after the news that Messi has signed a new contract with Barcelona."

Neymar was a FIFA Ballon d'Or finalist in 2015, finishing third behind Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.


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