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Luis Suarez says Neymar 'always welcome' at Barcelona, sides with Lionel Messi in row with club over pay cuts

Brazilian striker has been consistently linked with a return to the Spanish giants

Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi formed a formidable attack for Barcelona for three seasons. Reuters
Luis Suarez, Neymar and Lionel Messi formed a formidable attack for Barcelona for three seasons. Reuters

Barcelona striker Luis Suarez has said former teammate Neymar would "always be welcome" back at the club.

Brazilian forward Neymar was part of Barca's fearsome 'MSN' front three alongside Suarez and Lionel Messi for three years before completing a sensational and record-breaking €222 million (Dh888m) move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

During the trio's first season together, in 2014/15, Barcelona won the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey treble, before claiming the domestic double the following season.

Since leaving for PSG, Neymar has been consistently linked with a return to the Spanish champions, and Suarez has welcomed the idea of the Brazil international once again turning out for Barca.

"Everybody knows 'Ney', we all know the affection we have for him in the dressing room," Suarez, 33, told Mundo Deportivo.

"His ability is indisputable and he still has so much to show. He will always be welcome in the changing room, we appreciate him a lot."

Suarez, who is recovering from right knee surgery, said it was "complicated" to talk about players joining Barca at this time of crisis with the coronavirus pandemic.

"I can talk about players, and these are huge players," he said when asked to discuss the rumours linking Neymar with a Barca return.

The Uruguayan also had warm words for Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez, the 22-year-old Argentine whose name has also been associated with a move to Catalonia.

"Lautaro is a player who is progressing in Italy, he is a flexible centre-forward, with spectacular moves and that shows what a great striker he is."

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Questioned about how any eventual new signings would fit in Suarez said: "There will always be a healthy rivalry between us, and while we are all focused on the same objective, that is winning, any players who come in to help the team achieve its aims will always be welcome."

Suarez also offered his thoughts on the deal with the club that led the players to accept a 70 per cent wage cut. Messi publicly criticised Barca for their handling of the process and accused the club of applying pressure on players even after the squad had agreed to give up a part of their salaries to help non-playing staff.

"There were some things that were said that were false, like that the players didn't want to see their salaries reduced, that some were against it," Suarez said. "The [club management] were saying that without being part of the squad was annoying. It annoyed all the players."

Suarez said all the players were united from the start in wanting to help the club as much as possible.

"The deal was delayed because it's not easy to revoke the salary of 22-23 players," he said. "It was worked out between the club and the players' lawyers, but it wasn't easy to do."

Updated: April 8, 2020 08:08 PM

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