Ney­mar’s cryp­tic mes­sage heats up PSG spec­u­la­tion

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

The in­trigue sur­round­ing Ney­mar’s fu­ture at Barcelona took an­other twist on Sat­ur­day when the mer­cu­rial for­ward an­nounced he would be in Shang­hai on Mon­day.

It came a day af­ter a ma­jor event or­ga­nizer in China said a meet-and-greet with Ney­mar on Mon­day in Shang­hai would not take place be­cause the player and his ad­vis­ers were busy with trans­fer busi­ness.

That added to swirling spec­u­la­tion that the un­set­tled 25-year-old could be poised to join Paris Sain­tGer­main for a record-break­ing $265 mil­lion.

Footage also emerged of Ney­mar hav­ing a train­ing­ground al­ter­ca­tion with new Barcelona sign­ing Nel­son Semedo in Mi­ami be­fore Barcelona de­feated Real Madrid 3-2 in a high-pro­file friendly on Sat­ur­day.

Then Ney­mar sent a first mes­sage on Weibo, China’s equiv­a­lent of Twit­ter, say­ing: “Greet­ings to the fans in China! I’m Ney­mar Jr, this is my of­fi­cial Weibo ac­count.

“I am go­ing to be shar­ing my own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences here with Chi­nese fans.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to your fol­low­ing and re­post­ing! See you in Shang­hai on Mon­day!”

The mes­sage was writ­ten in English and Chi­nese, but gave no fur­ther de­tails on his move­ments in China.

Barcelona team­mates said last Fri­day they have begged Ney­mar to re­sist the tempta- tion of mov­ing to PSG.

The French gi­ant is sup­pos­edly ready to launch a record-break­ing move for Ney­mar, spark­ing exit fears.

“It’s true, some­thing did hap­pen, but that’s some­times what hap­pens in train­ing,” Barca mid­fielder An­dres Ini­esta said.

“All the talk about Ney­mar right now, ev­ery­thing is mag­ni­fied. Things like this can hap­pen. It’s a per­sonal de­ci­sion for him, but of course we want him to stay.”

Strike part­ner Luis Suarez has formed a deadly part­ner­ship with Ney­mar and echoed Ini­esta’s calls for the in­ter­est from PSG to be dis­missed once and for all.

“As soon as he clar­i­fies the sit­u­a­tion it’s bet­ter for us and for him,” said Suarez.

“He will have his say when he is ready and as a team­mate I will sup­port him no mat­ter what. Our re­la­tion­ship won’t change. We want him to stay.”

Barcelona man­ager Ernesto Valverde swerved the me­dia on the eve of the match with archri­val Real, but Ini­esta sang Ney­mar’s praises.

“For me, he’s one of the best play­ers in the world. He brings so much to the team and hope­fully he will stay for many years,” Ini­esta said.

“He is worth more than $200 mil­lion or $300 mil­lion. His play­ing style suits us per­fectly and he can only im­prove with us.”

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