Lionel Messi has revealed Neymar still wants to rejoin Barcelona and hailed him as one of the best footballers in the world.
The Brazil international left the LaLiga giants in 2017 to join Paris Saint-Germain in a world record transfer of £198million.
The 28-year-old had a successful four-season stint with Barca where he scored 105 goals in 186 games and also helped them win the treble in the 2014/15 campaign.
Barcelona tried to lure him back from Ligue 1 last summer and Messi revealed Neymar is looking forward to going back.
“He is very excited about returning, he has always shown that he regrets what happened. He did a lot to return and that could be the first step he took to try and come back,” the Argentina international told Mundo Deportivo.
“Neymar has always been a top level player and different to the rest. He is unpredictable, he takes players on and he scores lots of goals. On a sporting level, Neymar is one of the best in the world and I’d love for him to come back.”
The transfer broke up the Messi, Suarez and Neymar partnership and left both fans and teammates unhappy.
Messi also said he believes the Brazilian forward would help them get back to where they wanted to be.
“It’s normal that the fans felt that way because of how he left, and I was also upset about it at the time and we tried to convince him to not go,” he added.
“But at the end of the day we all want to win and have the best players and so do the fans. As I’ve said before, he’s one of the best players around and gave us a lot on the pitch.”
Barcelona are one point behind Real Madrid in the race for the LaLiga title and are set to face Napoli in the last-16 of the Champions League.
Despite still being in contention for two trophies this season, Messi thinks the Catalan club are off the pace.
“This year us and Real Madrid have both been inconsistent in the title race but I think we’ll be fighting each other until the end of the season,” added Messi.
“But if we want to win the Champions League we have to keep growing a lot more as a team because I think right now in the shape we are in we will not be able to challenge for it.”
- Barcelona ‘to offer Antoine Griezmann to Paris Saint-Germain in attempt to re-sign Neymar’ as Lionel Messi says Brazilian ‘really’ wants to come back
- Martin Braithwaite joins Barcelona in emergency £16m signing and former Middlesbrough man has huge release clause in contract
- Jordi Alba follows Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi in slamming sporting director Eric Abidal for ‘throwing s***’
- Ballon d’Or: ‘Leaked results list’ shows Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk missing out to Lionel Messi while Mohamed Salah finishes above Cristiano Ronaldo
- Cristiano Ronaldo Grabs Two Awards After Missing Out On Ballon D’Or