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Neymar didn’t want to return to Barcelona in 2019, claims PSG president Al-Khelaifi

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The president of the Ligue 1 outfit says that the Brazil international was never going to go back to Camp Nou in 2019

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi claims that Neymar did not want to return to Barcelona in 2019, despite widespread rumours at the time.

Neymar joined PSG in 2017 but was thought to be discontent initially after making a world-record €222 million (£198m/$263m) switch to the Parisian side, who triggered a release clause in his contract.

The Brazil star recently signalled his contentment in the French capital by signing a new deal that runs until 2025, and Al-Khelaifi claims that he never wanted to go.

What was said?

“Barcelona always wanted to get Neymar back, it’s no secret,” Al-Khelaifi told L’Equipe. “But did Neymar want to go? No.

“It’s true that his adaption to Paris and France was still incomplete, but call him and he will tell you how happy and fulfilled he is today.

“As I said at the time, I don’t want players to do us a favour by signing for PSG. I want players who are proud to defend our colours. The club is above any player, whoever they are. We want players who fight, who give everything they have, who want to stay here.

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“I regularly read rumours like ‘this player wants to leave’ and wonder how such fake news can come out.”

Neymar contract negotiations

Al-Khelaifi addressed Neymar’s recent new deal and explained why it took longer than expected to thrash out.

“It wasn’t difficult to deal with Neymar,” he said. “I’m convinced he’s one of the best players in the world.

“If it took so long, it’s because the health crisis hampered discussions. I never had the slighted doubt he would extend – even if Barcelona tried to recruit Neymar until the end.

“Obviously, we declined. I believe this club have some economic problems, but that’s none of our business.

“Neymar believes in our project, he loves the club, the city, the supporters.

“He’s totally invested and still wants to win a lot of trophies here.

“I’m proud of the relationship we’ve built and he’s told me he wants to end his career at PSG.”

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