Messi hopes Neymar makes ‘complicated’ Barcelona return

Lionel Messi would love to have Neymar back at Barcelona but admitted Paris Saint-Germain are unlikely to let their star asset leave.

Neymar swapped Camp Nou for Parc des Princes in a world-record €222million move in August 2017.

The 26-year-old spent four successful seasons at Barca, winning LaLiga twice and the Champions League once, but a desire to step out of Messi’s shadow is believed to have motivated his unexpected exit.

Speculation persists that Neymar could yet seek a return to the Blaugrana and his Brazil team-mate Arthur, who linked up with Spanish champions at the start of the season, said this week he was “praying” for the rumours to become reality.

Messi shares a similar view but holds reservations over the likelihood of PSG sanctioning the transfer.

“I see it as complicated,” the Barca captain said in wide-ranging interview with Marca.

“We would love him to come back for what he means, both as a player and for the locker room.

“We are friends, we have lived very nice moments, others not so much, but we have spent a lot of time together. However, I find it very difficult [for him] to even leave Paris.

“PSG are not going to let Neymar get taken away.”

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner also harbours hope of a future reunion with Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola, now in charge at Manchester City, has previously claimed his only route back to Barca would be as a youth coach, but Messi would appreciate the opportunity to play under the Catalan once more.

“Although it is difficult, I would like to work with Guardiola again,” he said.

“He is one of the best coaches in the world. That’s why I would like [him to come back], but I’m telling you that I see it as complicated.”

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