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Barcelona president Joan Laporta has claimed that Neymar was “keen” on a return to the Nou Camp before Lionel Messi’s shock departure to Paris Saint-Germain this summer.
The Brazilian spent four years in Catalonia, winning two La Liga titles, three Copa del Reys and a Champions League as part of the free-scoring MSN trio alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.
Throughout his stay in Paris he has been regularly linked with a return to the club to reunite with good friend Messi and Laporta has claimed that he spoke with the 29-year-old about re-joining earlier this year before the scale of Barcelona’s financial issues became so apparent.
Neymar has now been reunited with the Argentine at PSG after Barca’s financial problems meant they were unable to offer Messi a new contract, despite agreeing terms on the deal. Now Laporta has claimed that an offer to Neymar was in the works before their interpretation of how they believed La Liga’s Financial Fair Play rules would operate changed.
“We tried to sign Neymar. From the conversations that we had, bringing him here seemed like an attractive proposition and he was keen to come,” Laporta told Esport3.
“We interpreted fair play differently, but based on the way [Javier] Tebas [LaLiga president] interprets it, there was no point in making that offer.”
Six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi completed his move to Paris last month after signing a two-year contract – with an option for a third – worth £25m per year after tax, admitting that Neymar helped to persuade him to move to PSG when it became clear his time at Barca was at an end.