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Neymar, Messi talks of reunion at PSG

Lionel Messi has stated Barcelona would love to re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain, but he doubts the move is viable. The Argentinian also spoke highly of his “healthy” rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo and his hope to one day reunite with former Blaugrana manager Pep Guardiola.

Neymar joined PSG in the summer of 2017 for a world-record €222 million, and it’s difficult to imagine him leaving the Ligue 1 side for much less.

Messi told Marca that while he and his Barca team-mates might want the forward back at the Camp Nou, he recommended the transfer is simply too difficult to pull off.

“I think it is complicated how Neymar would leave PSG. We would love to have him back, as a player and for the dressing room. We’re friends, we had some good experiences together and others not so much. But PSG are not going to let Neymar walk away.” It’s a realistic assumption to make. Aside from the cost it would take to re-sign Neymar, it could cause a division between supporters, many of whom are likely to hold a grudge for the manner in which he left Catalonia.

Messi’s comments came soon after Barca team-mate Arthur told Mundo Deportivo he’s “doing a lot of work” to get his Brazilian compatriot back to Catalonia.

Barca’s kingpin was also asked about another La Liga alumnus, Ronaldo, who left Real Madrid to join Juventus in Serie A this past summer.

The Portuguese departed Spain’s top flight after nine years in La Liga, during which he and Messi jostled for recognition as the world’s best player.

Speculation about their rivalry was frequent, but Mess reinforced the notion that the duo shared a mutual respect for one another: “The time we were in the same league and trying to win with our teams was very nice. It was a very healthy rivalry in which we both wanted to improve ourselves. And it was good for the spectators.”

It’s perhaps no surprise Barcelona’s greatest player would be open to reuniting with the most successful coach in the club’s history, the man under whom he won a substantial portion of his highest honors as a player.

Messi raised eyebrows when he didn’t attend this year’s Ballon d’Or ceremony, an event at which he’s easily been one of the most talked about subjects on an annual basis for the past 10 years.

But he said he knew it would be a battle against the odds and explained his absence: “If I’m honest, I don’t give much importance to it although it is a big prize. I knew this season I didn’t have the chance to win it and I wasn’t surprised.”

He may have been one of the few people on the planet with such certain knowledge of that fact, although it’s possible after ballot leaks were reported as early as November 11, per the Mirror’s Liam Prenderville.

The highest scorer in Europe last campaign could only manage fifth in the 2018 vote as Real Madrid’s Luka Modric took the top prize, but Messi can surely only improve on that position when the 2019 Ballon d’Or rolls around.

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