• Valverde: Barcelona are counting on Neymar

    Barcelona star Neymar Barcelona star Neymar

    Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said the La Liga giants are counting on Neymar, as speculation grows over his future.

    Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly ready to activate Neymar’s €222-million release clause, with the Brazil international believed to be seriously considering a move away from Barca.

    Neymar played in Saturday’s 3-2 win over Real Madrid as Barca claimed the International Champions Cup, and Valverde remains hopeful of keeping the 25-year-old.

    “Neymar is here, we have him and we think he will help us this season,” Valverde told reporters.

    “I do not want to speculate. I see Neymar in the same place as a few days ago.”

    Neymar starred in Miami, setting up goals for Ivan Rakitic and Gerard Pique.

    Lionel Messi also impressed at Hard Rock Stadium, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner opening the scoring inside three minutes.

    Valverde, who replaced Luis Enrique, said: “We are looking forward to the best of Messi and the team.

    “We have been able to see the talent and the level of these players and those of Madrid, especially Messi, who is extraordinary.

    “The belief we have is to win all titles.”

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