Barcelona legend Rivaldo believes his former club must priotise re-signing Neymar when the transfer window reopens. The Brazilian superstar has endured a mixed time of it since swapping Camp Nou for Parc des Princes nearly three years ago.
While PSG have dominated the domestic scene, the French champions have struggled to make progress in Europe, while Neymar has been embroiled in a number of controversial incidents and struggled to maintain his fitness.
Barcelona, who replaced Ernesto Valverde with new head coach Quique Setien in January, are likely to undergo a major rebuilding job in the close season with Luis Suarez injured, last summer’s headline signing Antoine Griezmann struggling to live up to expectations and Lionel Messi due to turn 33 in June.
Neymar was keen on returning to Barcelona last summer and the Spanish giants are likely to make a renewed effort in the coming months, with Griezmann potentially being offered as bait.
Inter forward Lautaro Martinez, who is also a reported target of Chelsea’s, has been mentioned as a potential alternative but Rivaldo believes Neymar is the man best suited to spearheading Barcelona’s attack in a post-Messi era.
‘The rumours are growing about Barcelona’s intention to sign Neymar and Lautaro Martinez in the next transfer window,” Rivaldo said in a column for Betfair. ‘Although the young Argentinian is a good player, I think that only Neymar is a certain bet to claim a place in the starting XI side by side with Messi. ‘Looking at the last few years we have seen many valuable players who didn’t manage to play alongside Messi – failing to perform under the expectations.
‘But Neymar – like Luis Suárez – is one of the few players in the world that doesn’t feel pressure on the pitch, always playing with plenty of personality. ‘He never gets frightened and it would be a safe option for the club while Martinez is a young, talented forward that perhaps in two or three years may become a good signing.
‘For now I think the club should prioritise Neymar. I’m a fan of his qualities and personality and I know that sometimes I’m liable to criticism as some Barcelona fans didn’t like the way Neymar decided to leave the club. ‘But the truth is that he is a different player now who should be a nice help to Messi and co. in trying to win another Champions League.’