Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi all but confirmed that Neymar will leave the Spanish club, with a world record move to Paris Saint-Germain imminent.
In a video posted on his Instagram account, Messi wished Neymar luck for a new stage of his career.
“Enormous pleasure to have shared all these years with you friend Neymar I wish you luck in this new stage of your life,” the message read.
Neymar’s potential world record move to Paris Saint-Germain moved a step closer on Wednesday as the Brazilian informed his Barcelona teammates he is leaving the club, a Barca spokesperson told AFP.
“The player came to train as scheduled and announced to his teammates that he is leaving,” said the source. “The coach has given him permission to not train and to manage resolving his future.”
Shortly thereafter the club confirmed Neymar’s wish to leave the Catalan giants, but insisted the Brazilian’s 222 million euro ($260 million) buyout clause must be paid as his potential world record move to Paris Saint-Germain moved a step closer.
“Neymar Jr, accompanied by his father and representative, communicated to FC Barcelona this morning his decision to leave the club,” Barca said in a statement.
“The club have informed them that the buyout clause in his contract that from July 1 is 222 million euros must be paid in full.”
Speculation over the 25-year-old’s future has dominated the first few weeks of new Barca boss Ernesto Valverde’s reign with PSG reportedly willing to pay Neymar’s buyout clause.
Such a fee would smash the current record £89.3 million ($111 million, 105.2 million euros) Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last year.
Neymar arrived back in Barcelona on Tuesday from a fleeting promotional tour to China after playing in all three of Barca’s glamour pre-season fixtures in the United States against Juventus, Manchester United and Real Madrid.
He arrived for training at 9am local time (0700GMT), but left left less than an hour later.
With AFP inputs