Lionel Messi admits he wanted Neymar at Barcelona this summer

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi has acknowledged that he would have loved to see Neymar make the return to the Camp Nou during the summer transfer window. The Brazil international was heavily tipped to rejoin the Spanish champions from Paris Saint-Germain but ultimately, the Blaugrana were unable to strike a suitable deal with Les Parisiens.

Speaking to Spanish outlet Sport, Messi admitted that he would have welcomed the return of Neymar at the Camp Nou despite the attacker’s unceremonious departure a couple of years ago. He added that the Brazilian’s arrival would have enhanced the club’s prospects of meeting their objectives for the season but that was not meant to be.

He said: “The truth is I would have loved him to come back to us. I understand some people were against it and that's normal considering everything that happened and how he left us, but thinking about it on a sporting level, for me Neymar is one of the best players in the world. Obviously he would have increased our chances of getting the results that we all want. The club would have taken a leap forward, in terms of sponsors, our image, our growth, but in the end it didn't happen.”

Barcelona have made a dreadful start to the season by their standards and they have accumulated just four points from the opening three league games . That sees them already five points behind Atletico Madrid at the top of the table and they can’t afford to drop any further during the forthcoming run of matches.

Meanwhile, Lionel Messi has been sidelined with a calf problem since the beginning of the season and the same is expected to rule him out of the forthcoming league clash against Valencia. The Argentina international could, however, return for the midweek Champions League opener against Borussia Dortmund on the road.