Football: Dani Alves urges Neymar to show 'courage' as PSG speculation mounts

PSG defender Dani Alves (left) said he hopes former Barcelona teammate Neymar will join him at the French club.
PSG defender Dani Alves (left) said he hopes former Barcelona teammate Neymar will join him at the French club. PHOTOS: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Tangiers, Morocco (AFP) - Veteran Brazilian international right-back Dani Alves said he is hopeful superstar Neymar will join him at French Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), but insisted he isn't using his personal friendship to sway the Barcelona forward's decision.

The duo were team-mates at Barca from Neymar's arrival in 2013 until Alves left to join Juventus a year ago.

Having joined PSG, the 34-year-old Alves hopes Neymar will show courage and decide to swell the French capital club's large Brazilian contingent, that already includes winger Lucas Moura, and centre-backs Thiago Silva and Marquinhos.

Neymar, 25, is involved in a tug of war between the two European behemoths with his potential transfer to PSG the major saga of the off season.

"I hope it will happen. I've got nothing to do with his decision, it's a very important decision for him," said Alves, after scoring in PSG's French Super Cup victory over Monaco in Tangiers on Saturday.

"Men have to make these kind of decisions. I hope he'll join us, he's one of my best friends and I always want my friends to be close by.

"I can't interfere in his decision. It's his decision to make, but we'll welcome him with open arms if he comes."

PSG are allegedly weighing up whether or not to trigger Neymar's €222 million (S$353 million) release clause, which would more than double the biggest transfer fee ever paid, currently the £89 million (S$158 million) Manchester United forked out to bring back France midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus.

Pogba was then instrumental in convincing his friend Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku to join United from Everton for £75 million earlier this month.

But Alves says he won't be trying to influence his compatriot.

"I helped him once, I helped him come to Barcelona. I didn't make the decision for him, but I simply told him what there was at Barca, and he decided to go there," said Alves.

"Decisions are for the courageous. I'm the most courageous. I decided to quit Barca, to quit Juve, I always make my decisions.

"He has to decide for his maturity and his ideas about continuing to improve."