South American superstars Neymar and Lionel Messi will play together again at the Camp Nou next season, according to reports – and a move is underway to complete the new-look forward line with Erling Haaland under Joan Laporta.
Andre Cury – Barca’s former representative in Brazil – claimed on Friday that the pair are to be reunited in La Liga and not Ligue 1, where Neymar plies his trade for Paris Saint Germain.
Until recently, many had expected Messi – whose contract expires on June 30 – to leave the underperforming Spanish giants for the French capital in an attempt to win another Champions League with last season’s finalists under compatriot Mauricio Pochettino.
“Neymar has an open door at Barcelona,” Cury explained to El Litoral, in Messi’s native Argentina. “Their fans know he made a mistake and even he recognised it some time later.
“Two years ago, Neymar formally asked me to return to Barcelona. We tried and we were really close to getting him out of Paris. But because of some details, it didn’t happen.
“I was in Barcelona for 10 years, I know every corner of the city. I’d be very happy to see Neymar go to Barcelona.”
The appointment of sextuple-winning president Joan Laporta seems to have forced a change of heart in Messi after a season of rumors fueled by his high-profile request to leave last summer, and Cury sees the charismatic, cigar-smoking club chief as key to the coup.
“Laporta is the only one who can bring them back together again,” said Cury. “Messi won’t leave Barcelona – he decided that his history is in Barcelona and I’m very clear on that. Neymar will play with Messi again, but in Barcelona.”
Until 2017, Neymar and Messi formed the treble-scooping ‘MSN’ forward line with Luis Suarez in Blaugrana. While Suarez is now at Atletico Madrid, another dream attack could be completed by the simultaneous arrival of Erling Haaland, if reports from SPORT have any basis.
Neither Messi & CR7 nor Messi & Neymar. the only duo I crave is Messi n Haaland.Forget games, season would be over before even starting. pic.twitter.com/hiPAoVveMz
— Ra’s al Culé (@MIXer10i) March 19, 2021
According to the Catalan daily newspaper, contact has been made with the Borussia Dortmund striker’s camp, with Laporta’s networking nous key again.
Whereas his predecessor, Josep Bartomeu, clashed with the super agent over the potential purchase of Matthijs de Ligt, who eventually went to Juventus, Laporta harbors a positive relationship with Haaland’s representative, Mino Raiola.
Money is a sticking point, however. Dortmund are insisting that a famous release clause of around $54 million does not come into force in the coming months. But even if it does in the summer of 2022, a sum exceeding $72 million must be tabled to land the Leeds-born sensation immediately.
Drowning in more than a billion euros of debt, Barça simply do not have those funds available and may look to offload a string of stars including Philippe Coutinho, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele to balance the books.
Coincidentally, these are all expensive misfits bought after Neymar left for a world record $160 million, and Messi will also need to take a paycut if he wishes to see a silverware-challenging outfit built around him.