Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will come up against Neymar in the Champions League on Wednesday and has been talking about the Brazilian’s time at the Camp Nou.
Neymar arrived at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2013 from Santos, a year after Guardiola departed, and went on to achieve great success with the Catalan giants before his acrimonious departure from Paris Saint-Germain in August 2017.
Guardiola told a pre-match press conference before Wednesday’s match that he believes Neymar and Barcelona would have won the Champions League more times if the attacker had stayed at the Camp Nou, as reported by Football Espana.
“I remember watching clips of Neymar and thinking this is the king of Santos. If Neymar stayed at Barcelona, they would have won two or three Champions League more. Him, Messi and Suarez were the best up front,” he said. “He went to Paris, which does not look a bad decision. It seems like a nice club and a nice city from the outside. I am an admirer. He makes football a pleasure.”
Neymar formed part of a fearsome forward line with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during his time at Barcelona and won the Champions League in 2014-15. However, he has not managed to lift the European Cup since moving to France.
PSG and Neymar play Premier League leaders Manchester City in the semi-finals of the 2020-21 tournament with the winners set to face Real Madrid or Chelsea in the final.
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Neymar Talks PSG Future
Neymar has regularly been linked with a return to Barcelona and speculation regarding his future continues. The forward fuelled rumors of a Camp Nou return in December 2020 when he told ESPN that “What I want most is to play with Messi again. I want to enjoy playing with him again on the field, surely next year we have to do it.”
The Brazilian has reportedly frozen talks over a new contract at PSG because he still wants to come back to Barcelona, according to Diario Sport. However, a summer move looks difficult because of the Catalan giants’ enormous debts.
Neymar was asked again about staying at PSG ahead of the match at a news conference before the semi-final, and his comments will do little to stop speculation about a possible Barcelona move, as reported by Jonathan Johnson for CBS Sports.
“I have already spoken about it. It is not a topic at the moment. There is still time. I am very happy,” he explained, “This is perhaps the season that I have felt happiest with PSG.”
Barcelona Finances a Problem
Barcelona president Joan Laporta is currently conducting a financial audit which will dictate whether the club can try and bring in some big names this summer, according to Diario Sport.
The report adds that Barca’s financial situation is “much worse than expected” and “only player sales will allow incomings” which may be difficult to achieve with Europe’s top clubs hit financially hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
A Barcelona move for Neymar, therefore, looks highly unlikely this summer, while PSG will be keen for the Brazil international to extend his contract to avoid losing him as a free agent next summer.