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Vilanova not involved in Neymar talks

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova says he does not know if a deal to sign Neymar from Santos is close to being agreed.

The Liga champions have long been linked with a move for the Brazil star, with his club admitting this week Camp Nou is his preferred destination should he move at the end of this season.

Vilanova claimed he is in the dark over how talks to sign the 21-year-old are progressing but acknowledged he would be a welcome addition to the squad.

“I don’t know how the negotiations are going,” he told a press conference on Friday.

“They don’t have to inform me. I have known Neymar for two or three years. He’s a good player and everyone would like to add him to their squad.”

Barcelona take on Valladolid on Sunday knowing a win would take them to within touching distance of a 100-point haul in La Liga this season but the coach said he is only concerned about his side performing well over their final three matches.

“We have the chance to reach the record total and we’re Barcelona, but what’s important is putting on a good performance,” he said.

“That’s more important than the 100 points.

“We were top of the league from the first week to the last. We’ve scored more goals than any other team in Europe. Talk that we’re on the wane isn’t true, although perhaps we haven’t won as many trophies. There’s always room for improvement but we can’t always excel ourselves.”

Barca’s title celebrations made the news for the wrong reasons this week when Alex Song and Gerard Pique had to be separated by Carles Puyol and Victor Valdes after seemingly coming close to blows, but Vilanova shrugged it off as a minor disagreement.

“There are many people who have their opinion,” he said.

“There’ll always be someone who doesn’t agree. The team behaved well. You can always do things better, but you have to see it in the context of celebration. If you’re talking about Pique or Puyol, they’re always joking about in the dressing room.”

Vilanova then paid tribute to Atletico Madrid after their 2-1 Copa del Rey final victory over Real Madrid on Friday.

“It was very even, like they always are,” he said of the two teams.

“It seemed like it wouldn’t be, but these finals are always good games. I congratulate Atletico Madrid on the excellent season that they’ve had. Now we know who we’ll be facing in the Supercopa.”

Sun 19 May, 2013
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