Barca bids to nullify Neymar speculation
BARCELONA — Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre said on Tuesday that Brazilian star Neymar will be staying in Spain despite rumors linking him with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.
Asked during a media conference if he could confirm Neymar would remain at Barca ahead of the new season, Mestre replied: “200 percent”.
Reports in Spain have suggested PSG is looking to lure the 25-year-old to Parc des Princes after snapping up Ney- mar’s international teammate Dani Alves on a free transfer.
“PSG wants to finalize the signing of Neymar this summer”, wrote Catalan daily Sport, while the Madrid-based AS newspaper led with the headline “Neymar flirts with PSG”.
PSG is reportedly attempting to take advantage of Neymar’s desire to step out of Lionel Messi’s shadow, with the French club prepared to build a team around the Brazil forward.
“In the background of Neymar’s annoyance there’s always a concern, which has to do with his role in the team and his wish to become a leader,” wrote Sport.
“But you have to be aware that there are no shortcuts to leadership and it is something that is earned slowly, naturally and progressively.”
According to Marca, PSG would be willing to stump up the $257 million fee required to trigger Neymar’s release clause and would offer him a five-year deal worth around $35 million a season.
However, a report in French sports daily L’Equipe on Tuesday quoted a PSG source as saying: “We’re not going to repeat the Neymar show. There is a huge release clause and you have to be realistic.”
PSG has previously been linked with Neymar only for the striker to pen a new fiveyear deal with Barca last October.
Last week, Barcelona celebrated a lucrative new spon- sorship deal with Japanese ecommerce firm Rakuten in Tokyo .
“The objective is always to win, whether or not I score goals,” said Neymar at the signing ceremony.
“We are a team,” added the Brazilian. “If I can score goals obviously I’ ll be happy, but with (Gerard) Pique and Messi, and the other players score goals that’s also good. As long as the team wins, I’m happy.”
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is typically animated during the Blues’ FA Cup final loss to Arsenal in May.
Lionel Messi (left) and Neymar attend a Tokyo media conference last week to announce a sponsorship deal between Barcelona and Japanese e-commerce operator Rakuten.