Lionel Messi said that he was unaware until the very last moment over Neymar’s decision to leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.
Last month, both Gerard Pique and Xavi Hernandez revealed that they found out the Brazilian was off to France while they were at Messi’s wedding to longtime partner Antonela Roccuzzo at the end of June in Rosario, Argentina.
However, despite being briefed on the options Neymar had on the table, Messi says it was much later when he actually learned the deal was going to take place.
“Honestly, no,” he said when asked if he was aware during his wedding that Neymar had plans to join PSG. “Until the last day of the tour [of the United States] we were talking and we didn’t know anything. He said that he still wasn’t clear what to do and he didn’t know what he was doing. Others said they knew. But right until the last minute, we were speaking to him.”
Xavi had told the BBC last month that Neymar “told us at Messi’s wedding that he wanted to change, he wanted to change the club.”
Luis Suarez, who along with Messi and Neymar once formed the famed Barca offensive trident MSN, added that he and Messi tried to convince Neymar to remain at Camp Nou right up until the last possible moment, although without putting too much pressure on him.
“We never said, ‘Don’t go because you won’t be happy,’” Suarez said. “We said, we didn’t want him to go, but that he was free to do what he wanted. Because of the friendship we have, it was painful that he left.”
PSG paid Neymar’s €222 million buyout clause in August to take him to France.