Muscat Daily - - FRONT PAGE -

Madrid, Spain - Ger­ard Pique has sparked panic at Barcelona af­ter ap­pear­ing to back­track on his 'he stays' tweet on team­mate Ney­mar, tar­get of a block­buster trans­fer by Paris Saint-Ger­main (PSG). "Doubts, doubts and more doubts," ran the head­line on Wed­nes­day on the front page of Cata­lan daily Sport above a photo of the striker lost deep in thought.

PSG are try­ing to lure the 25 year old Brazil­ian to France and are ready to pay off his US$256.8 mn re­lease clause and make the player the best-paid foot­baller on the planet.

Last week Pique took to so­cial me­dia to say "he's stay­ing" - but when pressed on the mat­ter on Tues­day ahead of a pre-sea­son friendly in the US against Man­ches­ter United he was less sure of him­self.

"It's a per­sonal opin­ion from the con­ver­sa­tion that I had with him and my in­tu­ition," Pique said. "But it's not of­fi­cial," he added. "And it's not for me to say if he's go­ing to stay or not."

The po­si­tion sent a shud­der down the spine at Barcelona.

"Pique re­tracts and feeds the un­cer­tainty," the news­pa­per Sport said. "The sit­u­a­tion is erod­ing con­fi­dence at the club," colum­nist To­mas An­dreu wrote in Sport. "What re­ally hurts here is the si­lence of the player him­self, which in the end says a great deal."

Ney­mar de­parted the sta­dium with­out ad­dress­ing re­porters af­ter star­ring in a 2-1 win over Ju­ven­tus on Satur­day.

"It (the club) did not ex­pect the ne­go­ti­a­tions with PSG and the player to go this far," he said.

At the same press con­fer­ence, the Ar­gen­tine de­fender Javier Mascher­ano said he had told Ney­mar to care­fully weigh up the pros and cons.

Mascher­ano added all the play­ers, in­clud­ing Lionel Messi, had spo­ken the player to ask him to stay. "He's a hugely im­por­tant player for us, more than just his qual­ity as a foot­ball player, he has huge value, his per­sonal qual­i­ties within the group," Mascher­ano said.

Af­ter the win, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde re­it­er­ated his de­sire to keep Ney­mar at the club.

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