Football: Barcelona aware Neymar wants return but vice-president says club have not approached him

Brazilian star Neymar spent four years at Barcelona, winning the Champions League in 2015.
Brazilian star Neymar spent four years at Barcelona, winning the Champions League in 2015.PHOTO: AFP

BARCELONA (AFP) - Brazilian superstar Neymar wants to return to Barcelona two years after quitting to join Paris Saint-Germain, the Spanish football club's vice-president said on Thursday (June 27).

"What is correct, at the current time, what I have read, what I have heard, which seems exact, is that Neymar wants to come back to Barcelona," Jordi Cardoner told a press conference at the Camp Nou.

But he stressed that Barcelona had made no contact so far with the world's most expensive footballer who joined the French champions for €222 million (S$341.7 million).

For the moment, the club acknowledged Neymar's interest in returning to Barcelona but said there was no recruitment effort on their part to resign him.

"To say that Barça is working on recruiting Neymar, that is something I cannot agree with," Cardoner said.

"For the moment all that is happening - and not only with Neymar - is that a number of players would like to play for a great club like Barcelona. We will see what happens in timely fashion.

"We are currently working on the phase of deciding which players we will not be keeping on next season," said Cardoner.

 
 

"We are recruiting no one at the moment, especially not this player (Neymar) with whom we have had no contact."

However, media reports indicated that intermediaries between PSG and Barca had hammered out the terms of the deal which would free the Brazilian star to return to Barcelona this summer.

According to other Spanish media reports this week, Neymar has offered to take a pay cut of €12 million a year to return to the club and Barca have reached a "verbal agreement" to take him back.

The 27-year-old spent four years at Camp Nou, winning the Champions League in 2015 and two La Liga titles in a potent attacking trio alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Any return for Neymar would likely require Barca to raise funds through sales. Antoine Griezmann is expected to join from Atletico Madrid for €120 million while Frenkie de Jong has already signed for €75 million from Ajax.

The pay cut would see Neymar's salary clipped from around €36 million at PSG to the €24 million he received at Barca before his departure in 2017, according to the reports.