• Valverde: Neymar happy amid PSG speculation

    Barcelona star Neymar Barcelona star Neymar

    Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde insists Brazilian star Neymar is happy, amid growing links with French giants Paris Saint-Germain.

    PSG are reportedly ready to activate Neymar’s €222-million release clause, but the Barcelona star put speculation to one side as he inspired Wednesday’s 1-0 win over Manchester United.

    Neymar made it three goals in two games at the International Champions Cup, after dispossessing Antonio Valencia and scoring past David de Gea at FedEx Field.

    Speaking to reporters afterwards, Valverde said: “Neymar was very happy talking to some of his Manchester friends.

    “No more news except he’s still with us.”

    On the match itself, Valverde walked away happy after condemning United to their first defeat of the pre-season.

    Barca were a class above in Landover, Maryland, as Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez troubled United throughout the first half.

    “We are very happy to have won. We value United a lot and they are a very strong team,” Valverde said.

    “In the first half, there was a very high pace with many chances and in the second we tried to control the game.”

    New signing Nelson Semedo, who arrived from Portuguese champions Benfica, started at fullback and Valverde added: “Semedo is trying to adapt because it is not easy. With day to day I hope he gets it and provides more in attack.

    “I hope he helps us, but it will depend on his performance. Physically he is a very strong player who can help us.”

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