Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has explained his reasoning behind the tweet that was thought to confirm Neymar will be staying at the Camp Nou past this summer.
The Brazilian attacker has been heavily linked with an exit over the last few days, with French side Paris Saint-Germain thought to be his next destination. But things have since cooled, and reports coming out of Brazil claim the player now intends to remain at the club, despite his request for a wage hike falling on deaf ears.
On Sunday, Pique sent out a tweet with a photo of Neymar and himself, along with the caption: 'Se queda' - Spanish for 'He stays'.
But speaking to the media (H/T Sport) ahead of Thursday's friendly against Manchester United, he revealed that it was just his personal opinion and he wasn't acting on any solid information.
“The ‘he stays’ was a personal opinion," he said. "I can just smell it or have some intuition. It’s more a wish. I hope he stays. We were just relaxing with some other teammates. It’s nothing official because it’s not up to me and it’s Ney who has to make a comment. That’s what I would like and hope will be the case.
“We’ve all been taking with him the last few days. I tried to explain to him the situation he was in. It’s understandable that things come up. At the end of the day, he’s 25 and a unique talent. He has options on the table. It could be money, but I don’t think so, it could be for football reasons, but I don’t it’s that either. "
And then there’s the issue of his role, being the leader of the team. Here, he’s at the same club as Messi, who is the best in the world.
“At Barça you have to fight to stay in the squad. If it’s because of that, then I’d say don’t go to Paris,” Piqué explained, “There you’re putting everything on one card, if you don’t win the Champions League, you’re not going to be visible. He’s still young and having doubts. It’s understandable."