Neymar back to Barcelona? Ernesto Valverde plays down talk, calls it ‘fantasy’

After Spanish sports newspaper ‘Mundo Deportivo’ reported that Brazilian star Neymar, currently in Brazil recovering from a broken foot, got in touch with Barcelona officials to enquire about how he could engineer a move back to the club from Paris Saint Germain, Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has called the reports nothing but ‘fantasy’.

PSG crashed out of the Champions League round of 16 against Real Madrid this week with Neymar injured, only seven months after the Brazilian became the most expensive player in the world after a 222 million euro transfer from Barcelona. Asked about the reports, which also claimed that Neymar was disappointed by the level of the French league, Valverde said, “It is a fantasy and we are not going to speak about rumours when we know it would not end here.”

However, Madrid based newspaper ‘AS’ reported that Neymar’s father has already met with officials from Real Madrid, and that the Spanish club is willing to pay 400 million Euros to sign the Brazilian. responding to the rumours, Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said, “Neymar could play in all the clubs because he is very good, like many players. I’m not going to talk about a player that is not mine. On the 400 million, they paid 220 million and when they bought me they paid 72. It seemed crazy to me and 10 years later they are paying 220 million. It may well be that in the next 10 years someone will pay 400m, or sooner, I do not know.”

Meanwhile, Barcelona continue to be involved in a financial dispute over bonuses due to Neymar, which the club cancelled when it became apparent that the player was on the verge of signing for Paris Saint Germain.

Neymar underwent surgery on a broken foot last week due to which he missed PSG’s last 16 tie against Real Madrid. He is expected to be fit in time for the World Cup in Russia later this year.

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