Football

Joan Laporta: Barcelona signing Neymar ‘wouldn’t have helped’

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has reiterated that they have no regret allowing Lionel Messi to leave Camp Nou.

Barcelona not re-signing Neymar “has been a good thing”, claims Joan Laporta, with the Blaugrana president admitting that bringing the Brazilian back to Camp Nou “wouldn’t have helped”.

Laporta revealed to Esport3 in September that a former favourite in Catalunya had expressed a desire to retrace his steps from Paris Saint-Germain once a presidential change had been made by the Liga giants.

No deal was to be done, though, and Neymar has gone on to sign a lucrative contract extension at Parc des Princes – where he has been reunited with former Barca team-mate Lionel Messi.

While Barca were disappointed not to land Neymar at the time, as cracks started to form in their long-term plans, Laporta concedes that missing out was best for all concerned.

He told RAC1: “As the numbers were explained to us, we thought there was room to do it. We didn’t have our due diligence done.

“They told us that he wanted to come and that he couldn’t continue there, having convinced the club [to let him leave].

“But it’s football and whoever makes the best offer wins. Not signing him has been a good thing, it wouldn’t have helped.

“Neymar could have generated a lot of income, but not signing him has been a good thing.”

It is easy to see why Barca would have been interested in returning Neymar to their ranks, as he thrived during a previous stint at Camp Nou.

Having been snapped up from Santos in 2013, the South American superstar went on to hit 105 goals through 186 appearances.

He helped the Blaugrana to two La Liga titles and a Champions League crown, with a formidable ‘MSN’ strike partnership forged with Argentine icon Messi and Uruguayan frontman Luis Suarez.

Seeing Neymar fall out of reach has worked out favourably for Barcelona, as they are in no position to take on such hefty salaries at present.

Financial struggles led to Messi leaving as a free agent over the summer, while World Cup-winning France international Antoine Griezmann was also allowed to return to Atletico Madrid as part of an elaborate cost-cutting exercise.

The impact of those deals is now being felt, as positivity on and off the field proves hard to come by, and serious questions are being asked of how long Dutch coach Ronald Koeman will be sticking around as Belgium boss Roberto Martinez and Barca legend Xavi are linked with moves to the Camp Nou dugout.

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