Neymar’s departure for Paris Saint-Germain has perhaps never looked more costly for Barcelona, even given the world record £200m fee they received. Luis Suárez’s decline and the inability, so far, of Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho to convincingly replace him have left Lionel Messi particularly frustrated, and may have even made an overhaul of their squad necessary.
Where Messi, Suárez and Neymar once represented the world’s most lethal attack, Neymar, Kylian Mbappé and either Ángel Di María or Mauro Icardi may have suceeded them, particularly with the Brazilian relishing his prime. “Neymar is one of the best in the world and I’d love him to come back,” Messi said. “He is a very happy person who is always smiling and enjoys himself on and off the pitch. He gave all the players a lift.”