Messi, Suarez & Pique convince Neymar to stay – but Barca are eager to hear from the Brazilian
The two South American forwards and the Catalan defender talked their friend round on Saturday. Now the club want confirmation from the player himself
Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Gerard Pique have convinced Neymar to stay at Barcelona, Goal understands, but the Catalan club are still desperate to hear publicly from the Brazilian forward.
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Paris Saint-Germain are prepared to pay €222 million to release the 25-year-old forward from his current contract and take the former Santos forward to the Parc des Princes, with negotiations at an advanced stage in the past few days.
Those shock reports set the alarm bells ringing at Camp Nou and even though Barca vice-president Jordi Mestre said he was “200 per cent sure” the Brazilian would stay at the club, the player’s prolonged silence only made senior figures even more nervous about the possibility of losing a footballer brought in to succeed Messi in the long term.
Neymar himself told Goal he was “happy” at Barcelona in an e-mail exchange answered a day after the original story broke, but that seemed like a stock response and may have been written by the player’s people to avoid adding further fuel to the fire.
Neymar’s continued silence has irked the Barca board and a pensive post on Instagram (in which he was pictured staring into space and stroking his chin) hardly helped as the Parisian club closed in on a transfer, with the documents said to be missing only the signatures in order to confirm the Brazilian as a PSG player.
‘He stays’ – Pique says Neymar is going nowhere
With a lack of feeling between the Barca squad and the current board, the senior players decided to take matters into their own hands and after Neymar starred with both goals (including a stunning second) in the 2-1 win over Juventus at the ICC Cup on Saturday evening, he was beckoned to talks with Messi, Suarez and Pique back at the team’s hotel in New Jersey.
All three players are said to have told Neymar that he cannot leave the club now and that he is better off staying at Barca than moving to PSG, especially at this stage of his career.
On Sunday, Pique posted a picture on Instagram and Twitter with Neymar taken during a break in Manhattan and alongside the photo, a two-word caption simply said: “He stays”.
Many Barca followers quickly praised Pique for assuming the role of de facto president in the transfer saga and it was widely assumed that a line had been drawn under the whole matter.
Alba confident Neymar will remain at Barca
However, Neymar has remained silent and was said to be uncommunicative in a meeting with president Josep Maria Bartomeu on the team’s US tour. After Pique’s post, the Catalan club are now confident he will stay at Camp Nou, but PSG are not ready to throw in the towel – especially having come so close to completing a deal.
The player’s father was pictured leaving the MetLife Stadium with Barca directors on Saturday evening, although club chief Bartomeu was not present, and Neymar Sr. is still apparently unconvinved that the Catalan capital is the best place for his son.
Ultimately, however, the decision should lie with the player himself and even though he has been swayed into a stay by several of his close colleagues, Barca are concerned that he could change his mind yet again – and the club hope for a public declaration soon.
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