Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Neymar set for China trip as speculation mounts over PSG transfer

Brazilian forward had initially cancelled visit as he and his advisers reportedly were busy with transfer business.

Neymar's future at Barcelona is yet uncertain, but his teammates want him to stay. Hector Retamal / AFP
Neymar's future at Barcelona is yet uncertain, but his teammates want him to stay. Hector Retamal / AFP

The intrigue surrounding Neymar's future at Barcelona took another twist when the Brazilian star said on Saturday that he would be in Shanghai on Monday.

It comes a day after a major event organiser in China said a meet-and-greet with the forward on Monday in Shanghai was off because he and his advisers were busy with transfer business.

That added to swirling speculation that the unsettled 25-year-old forward could be poised to join Paris Saint-Germain for a record-breaking ā‚¬222 million (Dh958.6m).

Footage also emerged of Neymar having a training ground altercation with new signing Nelsen Semedo while in Miami, where they play Real Madrid later on Saturday in a high-profile friendly.

Watch video of Neymar punch-up here

Then Neymar sent a first message on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter, saying: "Greetings to the fans in China! Iā€™m Neymar Jr, this is my official Weibo account.

"I am going to be sharing my own personal experiences here with Chinese fans.

"I'm looking forward to your following and reposting! See you in Shanghai on Monday!"

The message was written in English and Chinese, but gave no further details on his movements in China.

Teammates urge Neymar to stay

Meanwhile, his Barcelona teammates said they have begged him to resist the temptation of moving to PSG.

"It's true, something did happen, but that's sometimes what happens in training," Barca midfielder Andres Iniesta said. "All the talk about Neymar right now, everything is magnified. Things like this can happen. It's a personal decision for him, but of course we want him to stay."

Strike partner Luis Suarez has formed a productive partnership with Neymar and echoed Iniesta's calls for the interest from PSG to be dismissed once and for all.

"As soon as he clarifies the situation it's better for us and him. He will have his say when he is ready and as a teammate I will support him," Suarez said. "Our relationship won't change. We want him to stay."

Manager Ernesto Valverde swerved the media on the eve of the match with arch-rivals Madrid, but Iniesta sang Neymar's praises.

"For me, he's one of the best players in the world. He brings so much to the team and hopefully he will stay for many years," Iniesta said. "He is worth more than US$200 million [Dh734m] or $300m. His playing style suits us and he can only improve with us."

Earlier, Gerard Pique conceded he did not know for sure whether Neymar will stay but said he would like him to. That came after he took an Instagram photo of himself with Neymar, captioned "he stays" in Spanish.

Pique's Instagram post

Also read:

Richard Jolly: Neymar could redraw map of European football with move

Neymar made an appearance at a Nike shop in Miami on Friday afternoon to celebrate the release of his new boots.

But the superstar striker refused to talk about the speculation and just posed for photographs with fans a day after the training spat at Miami's Barry University training complex.

Barca are set to return to Spain after the clash at the home stadium of the NFL's Miami Dolphins, but Neymar is still lined up to travel to China on business for the Primera Liga giants.

Updated: July 29, 2017 08:31 AM



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