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Lionel Messi & I told Neymar not to make ‘mistake’ of joining PSG


Luis Suarez has revealed that both he and Lionel Messi warned Neymar against a controversial world-record 2017 transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.

Neymar, having been at Barcelona for four years and winning the Champions League as part of a 2015 treble, opted to leave when PSG triggered the €222m (£199m) buyout clause in his contract. It was solely up to the player as the clause cut Barca out of being able to negotiate.

Aside from a bumper contract believed to almost double his Barca wages, Neymar also had the chance to step out of Messi’s shadow by moving to Paris and become the number one superstar ar a club. Yet, by 2019, it was widely reported that he was desperate to go back to Camp Nou.

“We were very good friends, and we knew if we fulfilled our roles on the pitch, we would make Barcelona great,” Suarez recalled in an interview with Clank!

“If one of us did not play well, the other two would make the difference. It was a spectacular relationship. We told him it was a mistake to go to PSG. If Ney wanted to be the best, he had to stay by Leo’s side. But, he made his decision, and it left a void in the team.”

The move didn’t go as planned for either party.

Neymar's 2017 move to PSG is still the most expensive transfer in history

Neymar’s 2017 move to PSG is still the most expensive transfer in history / Jean Catuffe/GettyImages

Despite dominating French domestic football, Neymar’s PSG failed repeatedly in their main objective of winning the Champions League – one final, one semi-final exit and four last 16 eliminations during the Brazilian’s six seasons in Paris wasn’t a good enough return on the club’s overall investment.

Neymar’s injury record ensured he also struggled to get on the pitch enough, averaging fewer than 30 games per season across all competitions – 173 appearances in total when a fully fit player over the same period of time might have played close to over in excess of 300 games.

At 31, he is now in the Saudi Pro League with Al Hilal but won’t play again until potentially the 2024/25 season due to an ACL injury suffered in October.

As for Barca, they won La Liga and the Copa del Rey the first season after Neymar left, with Messi and Suarez scoring 76 goals between them. But they have yet to add another Champions League trophy to their collection – or even reached a final – since 2015.

Neymar’s departure and the money that arrived also sparked a reckless spending spree that massively damaged the club over the subsequent seasons. Around €400m was committed to the transfer fees alone to sign Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho and Antoine Griezmann between 2017 and 2019. By 2021, Barca had consistently overspent to the point where they were unable to register a new contract that had been agreed with Messi that ended up with him also joining PSG.

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