Lionel Messi Reportedly Won't Sign New Barcelona Deal Until Neymar Return Is Complete
Lionel Messi's a central figure in Barcelona's transfer pursuit of Neymar, and it's suggested that he's refusing to sign a new deal unless they sign the Brazilian superstar.
Spanish football expert Graham Hunter has claimed Messi's driving Barcelona's move for Neymar and his future depends on the transfer of the PSG attacker.
The Barcelona skipper is hellbent on winning the Champions League next season and he's hoping his side heavily recruit in order to mount a challenge for Europe's coveted trophy.
The Catalan giants have already snapped up Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann, but the Argentine maestro is hoping the club can pull off the signing of Neymar, too.
And it appears he'll only commit his future to the club if they sign him.
"Messi is a central player in all of this. Messi is not a stroppy player - people have portrayed him as such falsely. But when he sneezes, Barcelona catches a cold," Hunter explained in his podcast.
"[Josep Maria] Bartomeu, the president, has said before he leaves - and he must quit the club in 2021 at the latest - he wants to leave Messi renewed once more.
"Whether Messi is saying 'get me Neymar' or whether he's whispering 'before we sit down to negotiate, I want the front line reinforced with Neymar', the fact is: Messi wants Neymar back.
"He, [Luis] Suarez and Neymar - even though they're different characters - are very friendly. Messi found a partner that understood him technically, who served him and who created masses of space. The last time Barcelona won the treble, they had that 'MSN' up front.
"It's clear Messi believes his route back to the Champions League isn't just Neymar specifically, but more people supplying goals around him. Messi is saying 'if you want me to sign a new contract, first renew Neymar'."
Neymar's days in Paris appear to be numbered. He's requested to leave the club during this summer window with Barcelona offering £90 million plus two players in exchange for 27-year-old.
Will he return to the Camp Nou? Watch this space.