Messi wanted Neymar to return to Barcelona

BARCELONA: Lionel messi he says he wanted Neymar to return to Barcelona this year since the Brazilian would have helped the club to make a leap forward, adding that his former teammate was eager to rejoin the the league champions

Barça spent most of the season closed negotiating with Paris St Germain to bring Neymar back to the Camp Nou two years after he left for a world record 222 million euros ($ 245 million) but the Catalans failed to strike a deal with the Ligue 1 champions.

The truth is that I would have loved to return with us, Barça captain Messi told the Spanish newspaper Sport on Thursday.

I understand some people were against it and that's normal considering everything that happened and how he left us, but thinking about it on a sporting level, for me Neymar is one of the best players in the world.

Obviously, he would have increased our chances of getting the results we all want. The club would have made a leap forward, in terms of sponsors, our image, our growth, but in the end it did not happen.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu said last week that the club did everything possible to sign Neymar, but admitted they could not meet PSG's asking price for the forward, who hit 105 goals in four seasons for the Catalans.

I don't know what happened with the directors, I know they were speaking with Neymar, I've told me how things were going. He was really looking forward to coming back, Messi, who has been unable to play this season due to to calf injury, he said.

I understand it's difficult to negotiate with PSG and with Neymar because he's one of the best. These negotiations are never easy.

Barça's top scorer of all time also said he had no plans to give up the Catalans at any time shortly after the club confirmed that his contract contains a clause that allows him to decide at the end of each season if he wants to leave for free.

I can say that I want to be in Barcelona as long as I can and finish my career here because this is my house, he said.

I want to stay here if I can stay in good shape, play well, feel important and if I see that we have a winning project.