Lionel Messi feared that Neymar was so desperate to leave PSG in the summer transfer window to the point where he nearly joined Real Madrid.

Neymar pushed for a transfer away from Paris Saint-Germain, just two years after he joined.

He was reportedly pleading for a return to Barcelona, after telling after telling PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi that he wanted to go.

The Brazilian winger had been linked with Real Madrid, and he was apparently considering a move to the Bernabeu.

Both Spanish clubs made multiple bids for the want away superstar, but PSG held firm and refused to allow him to go until they received an eye-watering fee – believed to be in the region of £200million.

And Messi admitted on Monday that he was concerned he would not be able to reunite with his old team-mate.

Instead, the Argentine was worried that he would swap Paris for Madrid and play come up against him in El Classico.

“I sincerely thought for a moment, especially in this market, that if he did not come here he would go to Madrid because I thought he wanted to get out,” he said, per Mundo Deportivo.

“He had said it, he wanted a change, to leave Paris.

“And I thought that Florentino and Madrid were going to do something to take him away.”

Messi also revealed how he had tried to stop Ousmane Dembele from being sent off in Barca’s La Liga clash with Sevilla.

The French winger was sent off for two bookable offences after criticising referee Miguel Antonio Mateu Lahoz.

But Messi reportedly told Lahoz that Dembele was struggling to express himself because of the language barrier.

“The red cards? It’s the referee’s decision,” he said.

“Everyone has their opinion. I’ve seen a pretty clean game.

“I don’t know what Dembele may have said to the referee but I don’t think it’s a long sentence because it’s hard to hear him speak Spanish.”

source: express.co.uk

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