Lionel Messi would like to see Neymar back at Barcelona and said the Brazilian is desperate for a reunion, while he also backs a move for Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez.
Neymar, 28, left the Camp Nou in 2017 to join Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record $263 million (€222 million) sum, but rumours of a potential return to the Catalan club haven’t stopped since his departure.
Messi told Mundo Deportivo (via Sport) that he and his team-mates “tried to convince” Neymar not to leave at the time, adding he’d still add a lot to the team:
“He's one of the best players in the world and he brought a lot to the team. But it's understandable that people would see it as leaving in a bad way.
"He is desperate to return and has always appeared to regret his decision. He did a lot to come back and that would be the first step in making it happen. He was always fine at Barca, performing at a very high level. He's a different type of player who is difficult to stop one-on-one and scores goals."
Neymar has been prolific at PSG and scored 67 goals in 77 appearances for the club, but injuries and a lack of competition in the Champions League knockout stages seem to have soured the move:
Another forward Barca could target in the summer is Inter frontman Martinez, and Messi was very complimentary of his “spectacular” Argentina team-mate:
“He's got a lot of impressive qualities. I can see he's going to become a great player, he's exploded onto the scene now and is showing what he's capable of. He's very strong, beats his man and scores goals. He'll fight with anyone in the box, holds onto the ball, and can produce moments by himself. He's got a lot of quality and is a very complete player.”
Martinez has blossomed with the Nerazzurri this season—only his second in Serie A—after scoring 16 goals in 29 appearances under Antonio Conte.
The 22-year-old frontman has also bagged nine goals in 17 caps for Argentina, leading Messi to add “it would be incredible” if the Argentinian duo could link up alongside Suarez at Barca.