Messi: PSG star Neymar not wanted at Barcelona by some

By Sports Desk October 18, 2019

Lionel Messi believes a return to Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar is "complicated" because some people do not want him back at the club.

Neymar attempted to engineer a return to Camp Nou during the previous transfer window, just two years after leaving for the Ligue 1 side in a world-record €222million deal.

The strained relationship between the two clubs was said to have impacted transfer discussions, however, and the Brazil international remains a PSG player.

Messi starred in a front three alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez and they remain in contact, but the Argentina star is unsure if a reunion at Barca will be possible.

"We talk often and we have a group chat with Luis Suarez," Messi told Buenos Aires radio station Metro 95.1. 

"The issue of his return is complicated. Firstly, because it was difficult to see him leave, secondly because of how he left.

"There are people from the club and members who do not want him to return. If it is for sporting reasons, Neymar is one of the best in the world, but I understand the other factors."

Messi, presented with the European Golden Shoe for a sixth time this week, recently declared he intends to see out the remainder of his career at Barcelona.

However, unlike fellow club icon Andres Iniesta, he has ruled out signing a lifetime contract

"That was talked about a while ago, as was done with Iniesta and the others," he said.

"I don't want a contract to tie me up because I don't know how I'm going to feel. I don't want to be [under contract] if I'm not well.

"I'm going to compete as long as I feel good physically, but obviously I would stay a lifetime."

Messi also opened up on his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo, who he competed with for team and individual honours for just short of a decade during the Portuguese forward's time at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018 and Messi admits Barca's Clasico showdowns with Madrid have lost some lustre as a result.

"Yes, it was good when he was in the Spanish league," Messi said.

"It made the Clasicos more special and gave them more value."

Related items

  • Bruno watch – How reported Man Utd target Fernandes fared in possible Sporting farewell Bruno watch – How reported Man Utd target Fernandes fared in possible Sporting farewell

    Bruno Fernandes is reportedly on the verge of a transfer to Manchester United, as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer finally seems set to bolster his midfield.

    Portugal international Fernandes was heavily linked with both United and Tottenham in the close season, though stayed at Sporting, signing a new deal at the club in November.

    The new contract reportedly set the 25-year-old's buy out clause at €100million, though the fee rumoured to have been agreed between United and Sporting is closer to £50m (€58.6m).

    Reports on Friday suggested United did not want Fernandes to feature in the Lisbon derby against Benfica, but Sporting and the player wanted to give him the chance to bid farewell to the club's supporters in their biggest home match of the season.

    But, amid all of the speculation, just how did the playmaker fare on the pitch as Rafa Silva's late double handed the bragging rights to Benfica?

    5th minute – It was a rather anonymous start for Fernandes, who stalled a promising move from Sporting when he intercepted a heavy touch from team-mate Rafael Camacho, despite being stood in an offside position.

    13th minute – This will certainly have got United fans excited! From inside Sporting's half, the midfielder – who has recorded 13 assists in all competitions this season – played a superbly weighted pass over the top of Benfica's defence, straight into the path of Camacho. The winger got a shot off, but it flashed wide of the right-hand upright.

    38th minute – In what quickly became a scrappy encounter, Fernandes struggled to stamp his quality on proceedings again until seven minutes before half-time, when he picked out Yannick Bolasie with a pass. The Everton loanee was unable to beat Odisseas Vlachodimos, though.

    43rd minute – The build up to this match was all about Fernandes and it seems Benfica's players were in no mood to let it be the Bruno show. He was clattered into by Franco Cervi as the visitors started to give their rivals' captain some rough treatment.

    46th to 50th minute – Friday's encounter had to be paused for five minutes, as a section of Sporting fans threw smoke bombs onto the pitch and set fires in the stands. Fortunately, the stewards got them under control as quickly as possible.

    58th minute – Once the match had restarted, Benfica began targeting Fernandes once more, with Chiquinho receiving a booking for a late lunge which left Sporting's skipper needing treatment on his ankle.

    66th minute – Fernandes also proved his worth from set-pieces, with his cross from a corner finding Idrissa Doumbia, who could not direct his header on target.

    67th minute – With a point to prove, Fernandes almost picked out Luiz Phellype with an incredible diagonal from far out on the right flank. Unfortunately for Sporting, Vlachodimos got there first.

    80th minute – Fernandes can only watch on as Sporting's defence fail to clear their lines not once, but twice, with Benfica substitute Rafa on hand to put the Primeira Liga leaders ahead, though the goal only stood after a long check with VAR.

    97th minute – In the seventh minute of 10 added on due to the earlier disruption, Fernandes is forced deep in an attempt to get Sporting on the front foot, but he is quickly crowded out, with his only option a pass out wide to Marcos Acuna.

    99th minute – Game over, and is that goodbye Fernandes? Rafa steals the show – and the headlines – of this Lisbon derby, setting himself brilliantly with an expert first touch from Haris Seferovic's pass, before prodding a fantastic finish beyond Luis Maximiano. 

    Full-time – The cameras come up close to Fernandes, though he betrays little emotion as he shakes hands with the Benfica players, before heading for the tunnel with his captain's armband unfastened.

  • Chelsea boss Lampard out to avoid 'knee-jerk' transfers in January Chelsea boss Lampard out to avoid 'knee-jerk' transfers in January

    Frank Lampard wants to avoid any "knee-jerk" transfers during this window, though he is open to adding to Chelsea's squad if a suitable player is available.

    Chelsea were unable to sign any players during the off-season, with the club serving a transfer ban.

    Subsequently, Lampard relied on the club's younger players to come through and prove their worth in the first team and, as a result, Mason Mount, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and leading scorer Tammy Abraham have all impressed.

    The transfer ban was initially due to run until the end of the season but was lifted ahead of the January window.

    Lampard, though, is adamant he will not bring in players for the sake of it, with fourth-placed Chelsea sitting five points clear of Manchester United in fifth.

    "I don't want to comment on those deals because I think it's easy with hindsight," Lampard told a news conference when asked about the club's previous January signings that failed to live up to expectations, such as Alexandre Pato and Gonzalo Higuain.

    "The players you mentioned there were top players. I think the idea of January being a time to buy players, it's difficult for everybody – for players coming in, especially if they're coming from a different league, for the club and for the settlement of the group.

    "I think that's why we have to think ultra-carefully, and I do care and consider the club and where we're going. I don't want to make some knee-jerk reaction to say, 'Here's my first big signing'. 

    "No, I want to do the right thing for the club. If I do it, I'll try and consider all things. I will always be in communication with the club."

    Lampard – who also confirmed Ross Barkley will not be leaving Chelsea this month – did acknowledge the Blues shall make additions if all parts of the deal fit, however.

    "Hopefully it's the best thing for us. Whether that's more of a short-term option or a long-term option, we'll also have to consider," Lampard added.

    "I think I should be [prepared for no signings], because that's where we're at, at the moment. If it feels right for us, then we'll do it."

  • Barkley's 'spot on' reaction to off-field incidents impresses Lampard Barkley's 'spot on' reaction to off-field incidents impresses Lampard

    Ross Barkley's reaction to a difficult 2019-20 season has been "spot on", according to Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard.

    England international Barkley made 27 Premier League appearances for Maurizio Sarri in the previous campaign but has featured in the top flight just seven times under Lampard.

    The 26-year-old, who the Blues boss insisted will not be leaving Stamford Bridge in January amid reported interest from West Ham, sustained a foot injury in October that sidelined him for two months.

    He was also criticised by Lampard after a pair of videos emerged – one of him arguing over spilt chips with a taxi driver in Liverpool and another of him dancing topless in a Dubai nightclub.

    However, Barkley scored in the 2-0 FA Cup third-round win against Nottingham Forest on January 5 and completed the 90 minutes against Burnley, just the second time he has done so in the Premier League this season.

    "There have been a couple of issues this year with Ross. He knows that and I know that," said Lampard.

    "I think his training, in the last month particularly, has been absolutely focused. And let's factor in the injury he had which was really niggly. It was a difficult one for him because he was one foot in training and one foot out.

    "He was training at a certain per cent to show he was there, but he clearly wasn't. I respected that because he was trying.

    "Now that's cleared up and he is showing his qualities, particularly against Burnley. So that's great news for all of us.

    "We had a couple of chats around those things. As I said at the time, I really like Ross and in my career, I had moments where I did things that I slightly regretted.  It's what you do to get out of them that's really important. 

    "And Ross' reaction in the past month has been spot on, in terms of how he is around the place. I'm a great believer in that how you train relates to how you play, and he has shown that."

    Lampard acknowledged the modern era makes it difficult for off-field incidents to go unnoticed but believes professionalism is of paramount importance.

    "My biggest concern was not really the bag of chips [in the Liverpool taxi incident], it was more the fact that we were training the next day," said the Blues boss.

    "That is exactly where I see it and Ross knows that and I am not one to tell my lads, 'Don't have a bag of chips, don't have a few beers after you win a game.'

    "Just make sure that when you think about the big scheme [of things], you do it with the idea you have to train and perform at a level and, as the game has moved forward and the speed and intensity of it even more so from my day and from eras gone by, the players have to be absolutely tip-top or this game will find you out.

    "That's not just a thing to Ross, that is to all the players about how they live their life."

    Barkley's return to the starting line-up was aided by a hamstring injury to N'Golo Kante, but the France international could make his first appearance since January 1 against Newcastle United on Saturday.

    "He's had a few issues through the week. I think it's a decision I have to make with absolute certainty but at the minute it looks like he's good to go," added Lampard.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.