Neymar was a target for both La Liga giants this summer.
Lionel Messi felt Neymar would join LaLiga rivals Real Madrid after Barcelona were unable to re-sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.
Neymar signing for Real Madrid was a prospect Lionel Messi feared was about to become a reality.
The Brazil superstar featured in a lethal front three alongside Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou before joining Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222 million move two years ago. Reports of Neymar wishing to return to La Liga have been frequent since then and an “MSN” reunion was mooted during the close season.
But with Barcelona unable to put together a package to make the deal happen, Messi worried his old team-mate would end up pulling on the famous white shirt of their sworn rivals.
“I honestly thought that in this market, if he did not come here, he would go to Madrid, because I really thought he wanted to leave,” five-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi told RAC1.
“He said it, he wanted to change, to leave Paris. I thought that Florentino Perez and Madrid would do something to take him away.”
Barcelona still boast a plethora of elite forward options.
Messi is back to fitness after a calf problem delayed his start to the 2019-20 season, while Suarez came through a period of criticism to score four times in the space of eight days before the international break.