Lionel Messi has told Neymar he will leave Barcelona at the end of next season, according to sensational reports.
The magical one-club Argentine pleaded with Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar to return to the club this summer.
According to France Football, the forward begged Neymar to come back and help the Catalans win the Champions League after falling to Liverpool in last season’s semi-finals.
“Only together can we win the Champions League. I want you to come back,” Messi reportedly said in a phone call to the Brazilian.
“In two years, I’m leaving, and you’ll be alone, you’ll take my place.”
By the end of the 2020/21 campaign Messi will by 34 years old and probably not ready for retirement.
That means a host of top clubs could be vying for his signature – including his former youth team Newell’s Old Boys.
Meanwhile, several Barcelona players, including Gerard Pique, have openly revealed they tried to convince Neymar to return to the Nou Camp this summer.
The players were reportedly that desperate they offered to take a payout to help broker a deal which could have surpassed the £200million PSG paid for the attacker.
“We didn’t stump up money,” Pique told El Larguero in October.
“What we said to the president was whether we could change our contracts because we knew there was a Financial Fair Play issue.
“We said to the president, rather than earn something in year one, we could earn it in year two or three or four.
“Rather than reducing our salary it was about finding a formula so that if the club wanted to sign Neymar they could.
“At the time they thought it was a good idea, but then other problems cropped up.”
Neymar remained with PSG and has scored four goals in his six appearances this season.