It is time to turn the page - Barcelona boss Valverde tired of Neymar talk

By Sports Desk September 13, 2019

Ernesto Valverde wants to move on from the Neymar transfer saga as he fears it could have a negative effect on Barcelona.

The Brazil international is rumoured to have been desperate for a return to his former club, two years after leaving for Ligue 1 giants PSG in a world-record €222million deal, but nothing materialised before the September 2 deadline.

Neymar's future remains a hot topic of discussion after Barcelona star Lionel Messi said this week he does not know if his side did everything possible to bring his former team-mate back to Camp Nou.

Valverde was not in the mood to discuss Messi's interview during Friday's news conference, however, telling reporters: "Was this not over? It is done.

"We've been speaking about Neymar before the window, during it and now afterwards we're still talking about him. 

"It's time to turn the page. He's a very good player. The market closed days ago. 

"He's a great player, I know everyone has their opinion. Talking about these things is bad for the club. I do not like it.

"I didn't read the interview. Everyone looks at Leo with binoculars. There is no need to attach too much importance."

Barcelona are rumoured to have offered PSG cash plus players for Neymar, with Ivan Rakitic among those touted as a possible makeweight.

The Croatia midfielder has been restricted to just 44 minutes of football in Barca's first three LaLiga matches due to increased competition for a starting place, but Valverde is prepared to rotate with seven matches in the next 23 days.

"I don't think he's affected in any kind of way," Valverde said. "There's no reason for him to feel that way. 

"We've got a lot of players in midfield - if Rakitic doesn't play it's the same as Arthur, [Arturo] Vidal, [Carles] Alena, Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets. Whoever I don't play is going to be a story.

"Evidently they can't all play and there's competition for places. Sergio Busquets is a fixed player [in the starting XI] and that limits chances even more.

"There's time to start thinking about what type of rotations work and do not work in those positions."

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    Neymar attempted to engineer a return to Camp Nou during the previous transfer window, just two years after leaving for the Ligue 1 side in a world-record €222million deal.

    The strained relationship between the two clubs was said to have impacted transfer discussions, however, and the Brazil international remains a PSG player.

    Messi starred in a front three alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez and they remain in contact, but the Argentina star is unsure if a reunion at Barca will be possible.

    "We talk often and we have a group chat with Luis Suarez," Messi told Buenos Aires radio station Metro 95.1. 

    "The issue of his return is complicated. Firstly, because it was difficult to see him leave, secondly because of how he left.

    "There are people from the club and members who do not want him to return. If it is for sporting reasons, Neymar is one of the best in the world, but I understand the other factors."

    Messi, presented with the European Golden Shoe for a sixth time this week, recently declared he intends to see out the remainder of his career at Barcelona.

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    "That was talked about a while ago, as was done with Iniesta and the others," he said.

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    "Yes, it was good when he was in the Spanish league," Messi said.

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