What Lionel Messi thinks of Barcelona deal for Neymar as PSG star eyes Nou Camp return
Along with Luis Suarez they formed the lethal ‘MSN’ frontline, who helped the club win a treble in 2015.
Spanish football expert Graham Hunter revealed Messi is keen on having the Brazilian back – and could use the club’s president Josep Maria Bartomeu’s desire to tie him down to a new contract as a bargaining tool.
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Speaking on Sky Sports’ Transfer Talk podcast, Hunter said: “The fact is Messi wants Neymar back.
“He Suarez and Neymar – although they are absolutely crystal-clear that they are different characters, very different people – they still get on and are very friendly.
“And Messi found a partner he could play with, a partner who understood him technically, who serviced him but also created masses of space for Messi.
“It’s clear Messi believes his route back to the Champions League isn’t just Neymar specifically, but that it is more people supplying more goals for him – he’s supplying a higher level of assists than he ever has before, his conversion of free-kicks is higher than before.
“The fact is Messi wants Neymar back”
“Barcelona have sorted out their midfield problems by adding De Jong this market, Arthur last market.
“And therefore that helps sure up a defence where i think they’re going to try and keep Umtiti, who Paris St-Germain would like.
“Umtiti is right now someone Barcelona don’t want to trade, and therefore Messi is a central player in going to the president ‘if you want me to sit down and start talking about a new contract, first bring me Neymar’.
“Neymar is incredibly gifted, he’s extraordinary,” he said.
“He’s a bit like a Harlem Globetrotter, he can do things very few people can do with a football and his goal numbers are incredible.
“But I just don’t think he’s ever going to get into the same bracket as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
“I just don’t see it, and that’s what Barcelona would be paying for.”