Barcelona have no chance of bringing Neymar back to Camp Nou any time soon, manager Ernesto Valverde insists.
Valverde admitted the Catalan club may look to strength in attack after Munir El Haddadi completed a move to Valencia, having turned down a new deal at the club where he came through the ranks.
But he indicated talk of a dramatic return to the club for Brazil forward Neymar – who joined Paris Saint-Germain in a record-breaking £200million deal 2017 – was wide of the mark.
“He is a great player, a world-class player, who is on another team and nothing else,” Valverde said. “Nobody has called me to tell me any different.”
There has also been speculation about the future of another Brazilian, with some suggestions Philippe Coutinho could be on his way out of the Nou Camp.
But Valverde backed the former Liverpool midfielder, who missed a penalty against Levante in the Copa del Rey, to come good.
“Throughout the season you have days when you are more fortunate than others,” he said. “Coutinho has had great games and we hope he will continue to have them. He must continue to improve.”
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Come Sunday’s game against Eibar all eyes will once again be on Lionel Messi, who will be looking to score his 400th league goal for Barca.
“This is a spectacular figure which is out of reach for all of us in this room,” he said. “I hope the 400th goal will come before long.”
The Blaugrana resume LaLiga action following their 2-1 Copa del Rey defeat at Levante on Thursday night looking to maintain their grip at the top, currently five points clear of Atletico Madrid.
Messi, Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba are all set to be back in action against Eibar.
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