El Clasico over Neymar

Updated: Aug 10, 2019, 10:33 IST | AFP

Spanish giants Real Madrid, Barcelona set to go head-to-head in pursuit of PSG star with an aim to deliver early psychological blow in La Liga title battle

El Clasico over Neymar
Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar. Imaging/Uday Mohite

Madrid: Real Madrid will rival Barcelona in the race to sign PSG striker Neymar this summer, according to reports in the Spanish press yesterday.

Madrid have shifted focus to Neymar, 27, after the close of the EPL's transfer window on Thursday ended their hopes of signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.

According to Marca, Neymar has "returned to the scene" with the club "believing for some time that the team is lacking a big star up front".

Newspaper AS claims the Brazilian has been offered to Madrid by PSG, who are open to selling if they can either recoup the 222 million euros they spent on him in 2017 or receive half that amount, with players included in the deal. It means La Liga's two greatest rivals are set to go head-to-head in the battle to sign Neymar before the Spanish transfer window closes on September 2. Barca newspaper Mundo Deportivo says Neymar will wait until August 20 for Barcelona to make a decisive move, after which "PSG's No. 10 does not rule out any option in order to leave the French champions, where it is clear he does not want to stay any longer."

But Mundo adds that "it is clear Neymar wants to play for Barcelona" while Diario Sport agrees, writing that "the winning card Barca continues to hold is the will of the striker to reunite with players like Leo Messi and Luis Suarez.

Sport admits whichever team signs Neymar will "inflict a blow on their rivals by snatching a star player from the other's grasp".

Court dismisses rape case against Neymar

Sao Paulo: Brazilian football star Neymar said he was relieved yesterday after a judge in Sao Paulo dismissed the rape case against him citing insufficient evidence. "I'll be sincere and I'm not going to say I'm happy, but yes, relieved," said Neymar in an Instagram post. The decision comes on the recommendation of prosecutors after police dropped the case citing lack of evidence. Neymar said he would "never forget" this incident due to the "PAIN it caused me, my family and the people who really know me." He added: "This scar will remain to remind me at what point people are capable of doing good things, but also of doing BAD things."

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