Valverde: Barca ‘absolutely’ want Neymar to stay
The new manager addressed the rumours linking his Brazilian star to Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the Catalans’ pre-season opener against Juventus
HARRISON, N.J. — Barcelona “absolutely” want Neymar to stay amid reports the Brazilian could leave for Paris Saint-Germain, according to manager Ernesto Valverde.
Rumours linking Neymar to the Ligue 1 side have swirled over the past week, with the 25-year-old reportedly unhappy playing second fiddle to Lionel Messi at Camp Nou.
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As Barca prepare to open their pre-season with an International Champions Cup match against Juventus on Saturday at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey, the club’s new manager addressed the speculation.
“This is a time of rumour — we understand that’s how it is, but he is with us right now,” Valverde said ahead of an open training session at Red Bull Arena. “We want absolutely for him to stay here.
“[Neymar and I] have talked but about other stuff, such as tactics and stuff related to that.
“He’s a player that we love and we want, not only football-wise but also the things that he brings to the team in the locker room.”
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Neymar has spent the past four campaigns with Barca following a 2013 move from Brazilian side Santos, scoring 105 goals in all competitions while claiming two La Liga titles, three Copa del Rey triumphs and the 2014-15 Champions League crown.
“He already knows where he is, and I don’t think that he could be in any better place,” midfielder Sergio Busquets said. “I hope that he stays here for many years.”
As he fielded the fourth Neymar-related question of his pre-match news conference, Valverde indicated he’ll address the transfer talk more thoroughly if there are further developments.
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“I understand that you insist on the Neymar topic, but there is no need to worry about something where we don’t know if it’s going to happen or not,” Valverde said. “Neymar is not going to leave tomorrow.
“If anything happens in the future, we’ll see in the future. But for now, there’s no need to worry about it.”