Andres Iniesta admits a reunion with Barcelona would be “difficult” for Neymar and claims a switch to Real Madrid “wouldn’t hurt” those at Camp Nou.
The Brazil international has been linked with a return to La Liga ever since securing a record-breaking €222 million (£193m/$250m) move to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017.
Madrid are reported to have led that pursuit, as they seek another ‘Galactico’ addition, but a second spell in Catalunya has also been mooted.
Barcelona legend Iniesta doubts that such a deal could be done, with Neymar having burned his bridges when stepping out of Lionel Messi’s shadow and into a spotlight of his own.
The World Cup winner told Cadena Ser: “I think it’s difficult.
“Obviously, Neymar continues to be one of the best and in any team he would make a difference. But it’s not easy to return.”
With Barca unlikely to make an approach, the path could be cleared for Madrid to lure Neymar to the Spanish capital.
Crossing the Clasico divide is difficult for any player, but Iniesta believes no grudges would be held by those at Camp Nou if a deal is done.
He added: “It wouldn’t hurt me because they are decisions that, if they happen, happen. Madrid would reinforce themselves with a unique player.”
The Blancos remain in the market for a suitable successor to Cristiano Ronaldo, with Neymar considered to be one of the few players capable of filling such a void.
Barca, meanwhile, may seek further attacking inspiration of their own in transfer windows to come, with uncharacteristic wobbles being endured by two La Liga heavyweights this season.
Ernesto Valverde’s side have fared better than arch-rivals Real, and continue to top the table, and Iniesta believes they will come good once consistency is established.
A man now turning out for Japanese side Vissel Kobe said: “Barcelona have unique players and I see them as candidates to win all the titles.
“Barca have reinforced themselves well this year. There are people like [Philippe] Coutinho, who has adapted well. I see a powerful team.”