Lionel Messi is apparently keen to reunite with Neymar at Barcelona and could play a major role in bringing the Br azilian back to the club.
That’s according to reports from the Independent.
It is claimed that Messi has even been in conversation with Barca chiefs about the signature of Real Madrid-linked Neymar and the positives of having the star back on board.
The 26-year-old only left the Nou Camp for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017 in a world-record £198million deal.
But it has been widely reported that he is unhappy in the French capital, where he moved in hope of overtaking Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
However, Neymar was not on the shortlist for FIFA’s The Best award - which went to Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric - and is expected to miss out on the Ballon d’Or for which Modric is also favourite.
And the Independent say that Neymar preferred his time in Spain despite having performed well in Ligue 1, where he has 27 goals and 18 assists in just 29 appearances.
Although Neymar reportedly grew frustrated at being in the shadow of Barca captain Messi during his four-season spell with the Catalan giants, Messi would apparently welcome his former team-mate back.
That’s with the Argentine maestro keen for Barca to reassert themselves in Europe having won just one Champions League in the last seven years - at the same time winning four La Liga titles.
Barca's arch rivals Real Madrid, meanwhile, have won four of the last five European titles including all of the last three since Barca’s 2014-15 success in Berlin.
It is claimed that despite winning the Champions League four times during his career, Messi believes the Blaugrana have not won on the continent as many times as they should have given their domestic performance.
Having been so successful alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez when they last won the Champions League, the front three plundering a combined 122 goals including 27 in Europe, Messi is keen for Barca to put their deadly triumvirate back together.
Neymar could then also play at club level with compatriot Philippe Coutinho for the first time with the duo known to be good friends.
Barca’s finances make any transfer difficult with Neymar potentially commanding in excess of the £198m that PSG paid to sign him two years ago.
Ernesto Valverde’s huge wage bill - which amounts to around £560million, two-thirds of the club’s income for the season - presents a major problem.
The Independent say that one way to put the pieces in place for a Neymar return could be to let France international Ousmane Dembele go the other way in a player-plus-cash deal.
The 21-year-old - who cost £135.5m in the summer of 2017 - has improved in his second season at the club but it is claimed he is not as popular a figure as Neymar was off of the pitch.
The newspaper suggest that Barca officials have already proposed the possibility of letting Dembele go to subsidise a high-profile Neymar return.
While Real Madrid have been heavily linked with Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard, it has long been claimed that club president Florentino Perez wants Neymar at the Bernabeu.
And that could provide extra difficulty for the defending Spanish champions with Real in desperate need of a new talisman having struggled since the departure of Ronaldo to Juventus - even resulting in the sacking of Julen Lopetegui after less than five months as manager.
Real even released an official statement back in July insisting that, despite claims, they had not attempted to sign the Br azil international and saying: "Real Madrid wants to clarify that it has no plans to make any offers for the player."
Neymar also appeared to pour cold water on the possibility of a PSG exit earlier this month, taking to Instagram to call reports from Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo about a possible Barca return "fake news".