Barcelona would still have a superior squad to Real Madrid even if Neymar signs for the latter, according to club captain Andres Iniesta.
Neymar joined Barcelona in 2013 as he helped the Catalans win two La Liga titles, a Champions League, three Copa del Reys and a Club World Cup in a four-year spell at the Nou Camp.
The Brazilian then decided it was time for a new journey as he left for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) last summer after the French side activated his €222 million ($263 million) release clause in what became a world record transfer deal.
Since joining the Parisiens, Neymar has matched the heavy expectations on his shoulders with 29 goals and 19 assists in 30 games in all competitions this season as PSG look set to win yet another Ligue 1 title with a 17-point lead over Monaco, who have a game in hand.
However, amid PSG’s exit to Real Madrid in the Champions League earlier this month, with Neymar notably unavailable for the second leg due to an injury, rumors started to emerge he was unhappy in France and would prefer to move back to Barcelona.
Rivals Real Madrid were also said to be interested in him, with Los Blancos reportedly prepared to pay as much as €400 million ($492 million) to bring the 25-year-old to the capital of Spain.
Iniesta believes a return to Barcelona is unlikely but even if Neymar does join Real Madrid, it would not make Zinedine Zidane’s side better than the current La Liga leaders.
“To be honest, Neymar’s future is not something I’m thinking about,” Iniesta told Spanish radio show El Larguero, as quoted on FourFourTwo. “Normally, when you leave somewhere it’s difficult to go back.”
“For that reason, it would surprise me more if he returned rather than going to another team, but we will see. If they sign him, Madrid would land one of the best in the world. But we would still have a squad which I consider better.”
Meanwhile, Iniesta also spoke about his own future with his boyhood club as his current contract holds a stipulation that could see him leave at the end of the season, with China being a possibility. The Spain international previously said he would make a decision before April 30, and reiterated, if he leaves, he will not join a club competing with Barcelona.
“I would not go anywhere to compete against my club, all scenarios that are not competing against Barcelona are possible,” Iniesta said, as quoted on Kickoff.com. “Many things are going round in my head, some with more strength than others. There are a few weeks left where the decision to continue or not is there to be made.”
“It’s one of the most important decisions of my career and I understand that I am at an age where things change and other doors open that are very exciting in many ways. It will not be a matter of love, it will be about me feeling what I think I am able to contribute. If injuries respect me, I can see myself in the Barcelona XI for the next two years. If I leave, it will be because I can’t give 100 percent as a player and as a person to my club.”