Neymar told former Barcelona team-mate Gerard Pique not to post his now famous “he’s staying” Tweet after the Brazil superstar was presented to the media by Paris Saint-Germain.
One of football’s greatest transfer sagas was brought to an end on Thursday, when Ligue 1 giants PSG met Neymar’s eye-watering €222million release clause and signed him to a five-year deal at Parc des Princes.
Last month, Pique seemingly offered hope to Barca supporters that Neymar would reject the riches of PSG to remain at Camp Nou by posting a picture of the two of them together with the caption “he’s staying”.
Neymar says Pique was merely expressing his own opinion and not reacting to anything he had told him.
The Brazilian said: “It was a relaxed moment, we were having lunch together and he posted a picture. We were just having fun. I told him not to!
“I was thinking about so many things at the time but he wanted to make that joke and express his feelings. I respect that.
“He’s one of my close friends in football and I only wish him the best.
“I took my decision two days ago. What I did first was inform the Barcelona coach [Ernesto Valderde]. I respect the club and this coach very much so he was the first to know what my decision was.”
Desde que llegaste, te vi como mi hermano pequeño. Todo lo que hacías, tu forma de entender la vida y el fútbol. Éramos muy parecidos y conectamos enseguida. Ha sido un placer enorme tenerte a mi lado durante estos años. Me quedo con todos los momentos que hemos pasado juntos, dentro y fuera del terreno de juego. Estoy feliz de que lo hayas ganado todo vistiendo la camiseta del Barça. Esto quedará para siempre. Jugadores como tú hacen más grande este Club y su historia. Espero que te vaya genial en el futuro. Te mereces que los sueños que te quedan por cumplir se te hagan realidad en París. Y para terminar, recuerda hacer siempre lo que hacía nuestro amigo JC: MAGIA. Te quiero, Gerard.
Following Neymar’s exit, Pique has taken to social media again to write a heartfelt farewell to his now former team-mate, who he likened to a “little brother”.
“Since you arrived, I saw you as my little brother,” he wrote on Instagram alongside a picture of the pair hugging.
“Everything you did, your way of understanding life and football. We were very similar and connected right away.
“It has been a great pleasure to have you by my side during these years. I keep all the moments we have spent together, on and off the pitch.
“I’m happy that you’ve earned it all wearing the Barca shirt. This will be forever. Players like you make this club and its history bigger.
“I hope you do well in the future. You deserve to have your dreams that remain to be fulfilled become reality in Paris.
“I love you, Gerard.”
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