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Xavi confirms Neymar not in Barcelona’s transfer plans: “He’s not a priority”

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Photo by Koji Watanabe/Getty Images

Speaking on Gerard Romero’s Jijantes FC channel, Barcelona manager Xavi Hernandez has confirmed that former forward Neymar is not a part of the club’s transfer plans as things stand.

Earlier today, reports had emerged claiming that Neymar had offered himself to the Blaugrana after Lionel Messi decided to join Inter Miami. It was even suggested that the PSG superstar would be willing to lower his wages in order to secure a return to Catalonia.

However, the 31-year-old is not a player that the Barça sporting staff are looking at, at this moment, and Xavi has confirmed the same in his interview.

“In theory, he is not in our sports planning. I appreciate him enormously as a person, but he’s not a priority,” Xavi said.

Neymar enjoyed a successful four-year stint at Barcelona between 2013 and 2017 before moving to PSG, where he has not had the easiest of times. A summer exit looks likely for the Brazilian superstar, but as things stand, a return to Catalonia does not seem to be on the cards.

During the chat, Xavi also spoke about Messi and his decision to sign for Inter Miami despite the strong links to Barcelona, and said:

“The last days, weeks, I had noticed that he didn’t see his return clearly. You have to understand it, being Messi is not easy. Everyone is interested in you, he never has peace. Leo explained it, for the past two years he was unhappy. I can understand that he doesn’t want so much pressure anymore. I spoke with him a lot.”

Continuing on the same topic, Xavi added: “I have spoken a lot with Messi and we were all excited… But in the end, it hasn’t happened. He has explained the circumstances very well. He wants a quieter and more family life.

“It’s Messi’s personal decision and you have to respect him because he’s the best player in history. I was convinced that we would do well with him.”

Another major issue that Barcelona will have to address this summer is the replacement for captain Sergio Busquets. Talking about what qualities he is looking for in a pivot midfielder, Xavi said:

“The replacement of Busquets has to be one of a very, very high level. The pivot that comes has to win many duels, not be out of position and be physical.”

“Names like Zubimendi, Kimmich, Amrabat always appear… There are a lot of media outlets, it’s normal. What you have to do is try to decide what’s best for Barça.”

On the topic of Pablo Torre and his lack of minutes this past season, Xavi said: “I know I’m unfair as a coach with players playing less. Sometimes I think about the players. But I have to decide and be honest with myself.”

The Barcelona manager also provided a positive update on the future of Ousmane Dembele, claiming that the winger wants to stay at Barcelona for a long time amid talks of a contract renewal.

“Ousmane is loved in the dressing room, very honest, he jokes all the time. He’s important to me. He can generate chances. Dembele is happy here and wants to stay. He’s always been clear with me on that,” he said.

On the future of Ferran Torres, who is being heavily linked with a summer exit, Xavi said: “Ferran has to feel valued and respected by people. With him and with everyone we will have to decide what we do. We haven’t done it yet.”

The Barcelona manager was also asked about the club’s interest in Vitor Roque of Athletico Paranaense. And while the 43-year-old insisted that the Brazilian wonderkid’s signing was under control, he made it clear that it will ultimately depend on the financial situation.

“We’re following him and his signing is under control – in the end, it’ll depend on our financial situation,” Xavi said.

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