Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva says he has tried to persuade Neymar to leave Barcelona for the Ligue 1 champions.
The 24-year-old continues to be linked with a move away from Camp Nou, with protracted talks over a new contract and ongoing legal matters related to his transfer from Santos prompting speculation that he is becomingly increasingly unsettled.
Manchester United have long been credited with an interest – with Neymar’s father even quoted as saying a bid of €190million was launched – while PSG remain one of the few clubs who boast the financial power to prise him from Barca.
Despite Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo also being heavily linked with a move to Parc des Princes, Thiago Silva said his compatriot is the star signing he is eager to see.
“It’s a difficult choice. Can I take both?” he told Le Parisien when asked which of the duo he would like to join PSG.
“Seriously, they are two world-class players. Cristiano has a bit more experience than Neymar, but Neymar is 24 and is already at the top. I think that next year or maybe the year after he will be the best player in the world if [Lionel] Messi gives way.
“Neymar is very strong and very intelligent. There are a lot of people who work behind him and support him. His dad, who I know, is there as well. This lets him stay calm mentally to play.
“We talked a bit at the presentation of the Ballon d’Or in Zurich. I said to him: ‘Come, come to play in Paris with me!’. He laughed a bit, but he didn’t react.
“He said: ‘We’ll see, let’s keep going like this and, at the end of the season, you’ll see what I’m going to do’.”
Thiago Silva admitted he can offer no guarantees over the future of fellow Brazil centre-back Marquinhos, who has found it difficult to displace his captain or David Luiz in the PSG starting line-up this season.
“His situation is difficult. Marquinhos is a player with great qualities who would be able to play in any team in Europe. That’s the reason why Barca and others have already enquired,” he added.
“But it’s the fault of his agent. He transferred David Luiz to Paris and then was left with two of his players in competition. And the third central defender is the captain of the team – me.
“Fortunately, Marquinhos is a good guy, otherwise he would already have acted negatively. He has to continue to work and we’ll see what he decides to do at the end of the season.”