'Neymar didn't leave Barcelona because of Messi' - PSG star's father rules out Real Madrid move

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The Brazil international left Camp Nou in 2017 and has been heavily linked with a return to Spain, but talk of a switch in 2019 has been quashed

Neymar did not leave Barcelona because he “felt in the shadow of Lionel Messi”, insists his father, with the Paris Saint-Germain star also seeing a return to Spain at Real Madrid ruled out.

The Brazil international departed Camp Nou in the summer of 2017 in a record-breaking €222 million (£193m/$252) transfer.

He had spent four years in Catalunya, recording 105 goals in just 186 appearances.

It was suggested that he had opened himself up to a move as he wanted to become a superstar leader of his own side, rather than playing a support role to five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi.

Neymar’s father insists that is not the case, telling Grande Circulo: “My son did not leave Barca because he felt in the shadow of Messi.

“When he received the call from the Emir [Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani], who showed interest in bringing a new star into an ambitious team, we took notice.”

Ever since making a stunning switch away from Barca, Neymar has been linked with a retracing of his steps.

Real Madrid are said to have considered the 27-year-old to be of the ‘Galactico’ mould for some time.

Neymar PSG Real Madrid

Florentino Perez has spoken of his admiration for the South American, with the Blancos president having history when it comes to putting big-money deals in place.

PSG have, however, made it clear that they have no intention of parting with a talismanic presence.

Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has told Marca: "Neither Real Madrid, nor any other club in the world, needs to call us about Neymar or any other player.

"Real Madrid know perfectly well that Neymar is not for sale and that the player won't leave PSG this summer. We have a fantastic relationship with Neymar and his father and it is built to last a long time."

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Neymar is said to be happy with that stance, with his father saying of the ongoing La Liga transfer talk: “Ney will not go to Real Madrid!”

A second spell at Camp Nou has also been mooted for Neymar, with Barca having struggled to replace him despite forever being in the market for top talent.

Various figures with strong ties to the club from past and present have had their say on a remarkable return, with there mixed opinions when it comes to a possible approach.

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