Lionel Messi has conceded that he feared seeing Neymar join Real Madrid this past summer as a return to Barcelona failed to materialise.
As noted by the Guardian, the Brazilian superstar was heavily linked with an exit from Paris Saint-Germain during the last transfer window, with both Barcelona and Real Madrid paired with an interest in taking him back to Spain.
Ultimately, that exit didn’t materialise as Neymar remains in the French capital, but time will tell whether or not he has now committed his future to the reigning Ligue 1 champions or if he will consider a departure again next year.
For Messi though, he has conceded that he was anxious over the summer as he believed that Real Madrid could tempt his former teammate to the Bernabeu in what would have been a major blow for the Catalan giants.
“I sincerely thought for a moment, especially in this market, that if he did not come here he would go to Madrid because I thought he wanted to get out,” he is quoted as saying by Mundo Deportivo. “He had said it, he wanted a change, to leave Paris. And I thought that Florentino and Madrid were going to do something to take him away.”
Luckily for them, Neymar didn’t secure a switch to Real Madrid, but it remains to be seen if that particular threat reemerges next year or if Barcelona can act swiftly and beat their rivals to the punch, assuming that they still want to seal a reunion with their former star.
Based on Messi’s comments above, he could be pushing Barcelona to make a move as evidently he would be fearful if Neymar did join their bitter rivals, and perhaps the best way to avoid that happening is for Barca to move first.