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Neymar's father denies any contact with Barca over return

PARIS, France – Neymar's father reiterated on Sunday, February 17, that there has been no attempt to contact Barcelona over a possible return to Spain for the world's most expensive player.

Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain for a world record fee $251 million in August 2017 but has repeatedly been linked with a move back to Barcelona.

"Barca are a huge club, we were very happy over there," Neymar Sr told TF1. "It's impossible to leave a player like him out of these (transfer market) rumors. But it's a lie, there hasn't been a call with Barca."

"There are two people who speak for Neymar: himself and me. Neither of us has spoken about this intention to return to Barcelona," he added.

"These rumors amuse us a lot. These journalists are funny. The future is in Paris, the present is in Paris."

Neymar Sr took to social media last month to brand a report in Spain which claimed he had begged Barca to re-sign his son from PSG as "fake news".

The Brazilian forward is currently on the sidelines after he was ruled out for 10 weeks with a metatarsal injury suffered in a French Cup win over Strasbourg on January 23.

PSG hope the 27-year-old, who suffered a fracture to the same right foot at the end of February last year, will be back in time for a potential Champions League quarterfinal.

The French club hold a 2-0 lead over Manchester United ahead of the return leg at the Parc des Princes in their last 16 tie.

Neymar Sr also called on referees in France to offer his son more protection.

"It's not the French league that is the problem, it's the referees who must protect the players," he said.

"If fouls aren't whistled, if unsporting behavior goes unpunished... that's the problem." – Rappler.com