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Barcelona rule out Neymar return

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MADRID (Xinhua) – FC Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu on Monday ruled out a move by the club to re-sign Brazilian international Neymar.

A recent visit to Barcelona by the player who abandoned the club for a world record fee of over 220 million euros to join Paris Saint Germain in the summer of 2017 sparked rumours that Neymar wanted to return to the club and that Barca were willing to welcome him back.

However, in an interview with sports paper, Diario AS, Bartomeu ruled out such a move.

“We are not expecting him to return… it was he who left us: now it’s the moment of (Ousmane) Dembele and (Phillipe) Coutinho and the rest of the team,” said Bartomeu.

The Barca President insisted the club had “not received any call from Neymar’s people,” and repeated that the Brazilian had left by “paying his buyout clause.”

Bartomeu added that Barca had “no intention of signing” in January, explaining the club had “a small squad, thinking that we have interesting players in the second team.”

Finally the president discussed the broken arm suffered by Leo Messi at the weekend which will sideline him for around 3 weeks, meaning he will miss two Champions League clashes against Inter Milan and Sunday’s ‘Clasico’ against Real Madrid.

“He is the most important player in world football and he will miss very important matches, but the positive message is that the team has always responded and been more responsible when Messi hasn’t been there.

(Ernesto) Valverde manages the squad perfectly and he will get the best out of everyone,” assured Bartomeu.

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