Neymar desperate to reunite with Lionel Messi: 'It's what I most want'

PSG striker scored twice against Manchester United on Wednesday to boost his side's chances of reaching the Champions League last 16

Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates after he scores his team's third goal during the UEFA Champions League group H football match between Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on December 2, 2020. / AFP / Oli SCARFF
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Brazilian forward Neymar has admitted he is desperate to reunite with former Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi and insisted he wants to make it happen next year.

Neymar, 28, enjoyed four successful seasons alongside the six-time Ballon d'Or winner at Barcelona before making a world record €222 million ($264m) move to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

"It's what I most want, to enjoy being with him on the field again," Neymar told ESPN on Wednesday after scoring twice against Manchester United to boost PSG's chances of reaching the Champions League last 16.

"I want to play with him for sure, next year we have to do it."

Neymar was heavily linked with a return to Barcelona in 2019, but the Catalan giants were unable to fund an acceptable offer for PSG.

Barca have had to agree salary cuts worth €122m in players' salaries this season to help offset the financial hole left by the coronavirus pandemic and are highly unlikely to be in a position to bring Neymar back next year.

Instead, it is Messi who could be on the move as the Argentine is out of contract at the end of the season and publicly expressed his desire to leave in August.

Then Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu would not free Messi from the final year of his deal at the Camp Nou, but Bartomeu has since resigned with new presidential elections scheduled for January 24.

Manchester City were the favourites to land Messi's signature earlier this year, but PSG could be an alternative for a player who will turn 34 at the end of this season.

"He can play in my position, there is no problem," Neymar jokingly said. "Take me out."

Neymar's partnership with Kylian Mbappe is yet to deliver PSG's first Champions League title, but the French champions should have another shot in this season's knockout stages after a vital victory in Manchester.

Thomas Tuchel's men are now level on points with United and RB Leipzig with one game in Group H to come.

But PSG are in the driving seat as they host already-eliminated Istanbul Basaksehir next week, while United travel to Germany needing a point to reach the last 16.

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