Miami (AFP) – Barcelona star teammates said Friday they have begged Neymar to resist the temptation of moving to Paris St Germain after a training ground altercation with new signing Nelsen Semedo.
The French giants are supposedly ready to launch a record-breaking $256 million (218 million euros) move for Neymar, sparking exit fears as the Spanish club prepared for a Saturday “El Clasico” friendly matchup with Real Madrid at Miami.
The unsettled 25 year-old Brazilian stormed off the practice pitch in disgust and has yet to commit his future to Barcelona ahead of the transfer deadline, still more than a month away.
“It’s true, something did happen, but that’s sometimes what happens in training,” Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta said.
“All the talk about Neymar right now, everything is magnified. Things like this can happen. It’s a personal decision for him, but of course we want him to stay.”
Strike partner Luis Suarez has formed a deadly partnership with Neymar and echoed Iniesta’s calls for the interest from PSG to be dismissed once and for all.
“As soon as he clarifies the situation it’s better for us and him. He will have his say when he is ready and as a teammate I will support him,” Suarez said.
“Our relationship won’t change. We want him to stay.”
Boss Ernesto Valverde swerved the media on the eve of the match with arch-rival Real, but Iniesta sang Neymar’s praises.
“For me, he’s one of the best players in the world. He brings so much to the team and hopefully he will stay for many years,” Iniesta said.
“He is worth more than $200 million or $300 million. His playing style suits us and he can only improve with us.”
Neymar made an appearance at a Nike shop in Miami on Friday afternoon to celebrate the release of his new boots.
But the superstar striker refused to talk about the speculation and just posed for photographs with fans a day after the training spat at Miami’s Barry University training complex.
Barca are set to return to Spain after the clash at the home stadium of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, but Neymar is still lined up to travel to China on business for the La Liga giants.