Neymar is unlikely to swap Paris Saint-Germain for Real Madrid this summer, claims fellow Brazilian Ronaldo, with there still points to be proved in France by a man who has faced unfair criticism.
Each passing transfer window brings with it a fresh round of rumours regarding a South American forward.
Back in 2017, he did complete a record-breaking move to France, but there has been no suggestion that he is actively seeking another.
Whispers of a return to Spain for the former Barcelona star refuse to go away, though, with a second stint at Camp Nou or a spell across the Clasico divide at the Santiago Bernabeu constantly mooted.
Ronaldo is aware of the speculation, but sees little substance to it.
The World Cup-winning striker, who spent time with Barca and Real in his playing days, said at a Santander event ahead of the Champions League final: “I do not know about Neymar.
“It has been dragging on for many years. There are many rumours, but I do not think there is anything concrete with Real Madrid.
“He is an incredible player that anyone would like to have. But, from what I see, he’s not on the market.”
Ronaldo added on Neymar, who has seen two productive years in France disrupted by injury and faced questions of his contribution: “In football there has always been criticism.
“I have even been criticised, most unfairly. We cannot do anything about it.
“I see him as a very intelligent kid, an extraordinary talent, and wanting to have continuity again. He had two serious injuries that reduced his game time, and that opened the window of controversy to him when not being on the field. You have time to do other things and, as young people, life goes on.
“The vast majority of criticism is unfair. I believe in him and I’m sure he will turn his situation around.”
While backing Neymar to silence his doubters, Ronaldo concedes that those calling for Gareth Bale to be moved out of Madrid this summer may get their wish.
He said of the Wales international, who appears to have lost the support of manager Zinedine Zidane: “I do not think there’s any problem with Bale. Zizou has the right and the confidence of Real Madrid to make decisions.
“It is normal planning, preparing the squad for next year. Then it’s up to the player if he accepts things or not.”
As Bale has struggled, alongside a number of his team-mates this season, the current campaign has been a breakthrough one for Vinicius Junior.
The 18-year-old is another Brazilian to have suffered untimely injuries this season, but he has proved his worth on a senior stage with Madrid after seeing loan interest from Ronaldo fended off last summer.
A man who is now the majority stakeholder at Real Madrid said of an exciting countryman seeking to follow in his footsteps: “I wish I could count on Vinicius in Valladolid. But of course I cannot pay his salary.
“If Madrid gives in, we would welcome him. Him, and anyone Madrid wants to give us.
“He is a spectacular talent, as well as Rodrygo, who is an incredible talent. Madrid has been reinforced with very good young talents.”
The Blancos will be hoping that potential serves them well in the future, with the 2018-19 campaign having been something of a disaster for a club that has got through three managers and missed out on major silverware.