'We must not look back' - Neymar exit won't derail Barcelona insists coach Valverde

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The new man in charge at Camp Nou admits he would have preferred to keep the Brazilian forward, but has already moved on from a lengthy transfer saga

Ernesto Valverde would have liked to keep Neymar at Barcelona but has urged his side to forget about the Brazilian in the wake of his record-breaking exit.

A €222 million agreement with Paris Saint-Germain has seen Barca part with a leading member of their fearsome ‘MSN’ frontline.

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They are, however, expected to put those funds to good use in search of a successor, with several figures – including Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele – being heavily linked with moves to Camp Nou.

Regardless of what happens, though, Valverde is looking for his side to focus on the present and future, with the “door closed” on a frustrating Neymar saga.

“Every player is free to decide upon their own destiny and he has decided his," he told reporters.

Ernesto Valverde Barcelona unveiling

“We of course wish him all the best and whilst we would have preferred to keep him here we must now look ahead and focus on the players in the squad and those who could join us.

“We must not look back but instead look ahead and focus on the future as that is what we must do.

“One door is closed but many more will open so we must look to that and we are excited for what the future holds.”

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'Neymar taking a step down at PSG'

Barca will take in their first competitive fixture without Neymar when they face arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa on Sunday.

The second leg of that contest will then take place next Wednesday, before the 2017-18 La Liga campaign is opened with a home date against Real Betis on August 20.

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