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Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has rejected speculation linking the club with a sensational return for Paris Saint-German forward Neymar.

There were rumours circulating earlier in the season that the Brazilian was desperate to leave the French capital and that his representatives had sounded out Barcelona officials over a return to the Camp Nou.

After Neymar’s father categorically denied the claims, Valverde has now echoed those sentiments, and insisted that neither club had been in contact with each other over a potential move.

He said (as quoted by the ​Daily Express): “People tend to say big things about players at other clubs.

“He is a great player, had a great World Cup, but now he’s at a different club, so there’s nothing more to say about that.


“It’s not a question of Neymar phoning…nobody has phoned me.

“News stories always appear in the Press. He’s a PSG player and we respect PSG.”

The 26-year-old left the ​La Liga giants in 2017 for a world-record fee of £200m, and despite his good form, was in the midst of rumours linking him with a return back to Barcelona.

The Catalan side’s sporting director Pep Segura admitted last year that the prospect of the Brazil international finding his way back in ​Barcelona colours was not an outlandish prospect.

Segura said (as quoted by ​La Vanguardia): “All players who are in the market are likely to come if they fit our needs. 


“Today, Neymar is not on the market. If one day there is a possibility, does anyone believe that a club like Barca does not have to consider it? In the case of Neymar and anyone, we must give our partners the best.”​

Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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