PSG boss Leonardo responds to Neymar’s Messi plea

Neymar has made his desire for a reunion clear, but it seems the Ligue 1 giants are not pursuing a deal for now

Sporting director Leonardo has played down speculation linking Paris Saint-Germain with a sensational move for Lionel Messi.

The 32-year-old’s future  is the subject of intense scrutiny as it looks increasingly likely he will move on from Barcelona in the summer.

Messi is into the final year of his contract at Camp Nou and, having expressed his desire to leave earlier this year, it seems a new deal is unlikely, meaning he would be able to leave on a free transfer.

Brazil attacker Neymar revealed last week that he would love to be reunited with Messi, having played alongside him to devastating affect at the Camp Nou between 2013 and 2017.

That inevitably sparked frenzied rumours linking PSG with a move for Barca’s all-time top scorer, though Leonardo was keen to downplay the significance of Neymar’s remarks.

“No. You know, it’s normal for Neymar to say that to an Argentinian journalist. He had to talk about Messi. It’s normal,” he told Canal+ .

“We have to maintain respect for others. He’s a Barcelona player. When somebody talks about our players, we are not happy. So we don’t touch other people’s players. Now is not the time to think about the transfer window.

“We are very happy with the squad we have. We are thinking of our season and the end of the first part of the season, which was very complicated.

“We have to stay focused on our goals such as qualifying for last 16 in the Champions League. And also we have to think about Ligue 1, and avoid finding ourselves in a complicated situation. Let’s keep our focus.”

Leonardo’s comments struck a similar tone to that of PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who was also keen to distance himself from an imminent bid when he was asked about a move for Messi last week.

Barca boss Ronald Koeman was also keen to play down rumours surrounding his star striker, though he did express his frustration at comments by interim club president Carlos Tusquets, who said the club should have cashed-in on Messi last summer rather than risk losing him for nothing next year.

Published at Sat, 05 Dec 2020 22:09:58 +0000

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