Lionel Messi believes it would be a terrible blow to Barcelona if Neymar moved to Real Madrid.
The Brazil superstar left Barca last August for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million move, purportedly to escape Messi’s shadow and assert his own Ballon d’Or credentials.
Despite scoring 28 goals in 30 appearances of an injury-curtailed maiden season in the French capital, rumours have swirled that Madrid are gunning to make Neymar the star signing to launch a new era of success at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Messi, who once again inspired Barca to LaLiga glory this season, has left his friend and former team-mate in little doubt that it would be tough to see him in the famous white shirt of the Blaugrana’s bitter rivals.
“It would be terrible if Neymar went to Madrid because of what it means for Barcelona,” he told TyC Sports.
“He already knows what I think. It would be a hard blow.
“Besides, it would make Madrid stronger than they are.”
Messi did much to quell any speculation over his own future by signing a lucrative contract running until 2021 at Camp Nou last November.
A combination of factors have seen him fleetingly linked with Premier League champions Manchester City over recent years – namely the necessary financial means, the presence of his old mentor Pep Guardiola and the prospect of linking up with long-time friend and international colleague Sergio Aguero in attack.
Asked whether he would consider moving to Manchester to join Aguero, Messi replied: “No, he should come to Barcelona.”
Aguero is City’s record goalscorer and contracted at the club until 2020. The 29-year-old has regularly expressed a desire to return to his boyhood club Independiente in Argentina.