Neymar returning to Barcelona would be great – Philippe Coutinho
Philippe Coutinho has said it would be “great” if he could link up with Brazil teammate Neymar at Barcelona.
Neymar left Barca for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record move last summer but there has been speculation that he could either return to Barcelona or join Real Madrid.
Barcelona have said they are not aware that Neymar wants to return after reports after PSG’s elimination from the Champions League claimed he would push for a move from the Ligue 1 leaders.
But speaking at the launch of the Mediterranean Internation Cup, Coutinho said: “Neymar is a great player. I play with him for the national team and it is a real privilege.
“It would be great if he came back to Barcelona, and of course we would open the door to that.”
Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo reported last week that Neymar wanted to move back to the Camp Nou.
However, Barca spokesman Josep Vives said that was a “hypothetical debate” and Neymar had not approached the club.
“We are not aware of Neymar wanting to return to Barcelona,” he told a news conference.
“He’s a player who left the club and we wished him luck at the time of his departure.
“Since then, nothing else has happened. We aren’t going to enter into a hypothetical debate about what someone says about a player that isn’t ours.”
Ivan Rakitic has said he “would open the door” for Neymar if he wanted to return.
It has been reported that PSG would want any club interested in signing Neymar to pay €400 million.
Barca have spent the €222m they received for Neymar on the signings of Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele, and with Arthur and potentially Antoine Griezmann set to arrive later this year are unlikely to pay that amount.
Coach Ernesto Valverde said last week that he does not have that kind of money to spend but that Madrid may do.
“If Neymar will go to Real Madrid for €400m?” Vives said. “I couldn’t possibly talk about the money that other teams might have available for him.”
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.