Barcelona coach Luis Enrique has heralded Neymar’s decision to sign a new contract as proof of the team spirit at Camp Nou.
The Brazil international put pen to paper on a new five-year deal on Friday after months of speculation linking him with Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and even Real Madrid.
One of Neymar’s representatives, Wagner Ribeiro, claimed PSG put forward a proposal that included a €40million tax-free salary, a private jet and a stake in a hotel business – an offer he claimed blew Barca’s package out of the water.
Neymar, however, has always maintained he was eager to stay at Camp Nou, and Luis Enrique believes the camaraderie among his players helped convince the former Santos man to stay.
“Neymar’s renewal is great news,” he said, speaking ahead of Barca’s LaLiga clash with Valencia on Saturday.
“It shows his great level, his progress and that the player is still happy at the club, with his team-mates and with an eagerness to win titles.
“All renewals are good news, and they invite some cautious optimism.
“Being able to work happily, to feel supported by your team-mates … even though we have a team full of stars, all the players think about the collective good. You don’t see that often at a big club, and I hope it continues for many years.”
Luis Enrique also pointed to a communal dinner staged by Luis Suarez this week as further proof of the conviviality between his stars.
The Uruguay international celebrated receiving the European Golden Shoe at Casanova Club Beach in Castelldefels on Thursday, along with members of the first-team squad and the head coach.
“A team-mate wants to share his success with his team-mates. That’s perfect for me,” said Luis Enrique. “It was a good night, hopefully we can have a lot more in future.”