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Lionel Messi insists Barca are ‘better off’ without Neymar — and praises Man City

Five-time Ballon d'Or-winner believes La Liga giants now have more balance following Brazilian's move to PSG

Neymar? Never heard of him, mate.

Lionel Messi insists Barcelona are “better off” following the Brazilian superstar’s world-record transfer to PSG.

Neymar left the Nou Camp in the summer after Real Madrid pipped Barca to the title but this season, Messi and co have established a comfortable lead at the top of La Liga.

Neymar appeared a big loss for Barcelona, but Catalans have been impressive

Irreplaceable? Not quite…

Even with the signing of Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, many thought Barcelona would be considerably worse off without Neymar.

However, here we are in mid-February and the Catalan giants are eyeing a possible treble-winning end to the season.

“Without Neymar we are more balanced,” Messi explained to The Mirror. “His departure led to a change in the way we play.

“We have lost a lot of our offensive potential but we have improved in defence. We have more balance and this allows us to be more solid.”

Neymar provided a constant threat down the left wing for Barca last season but Jordi Alba’s scintillating form from left-back has meant that avenue of attack has remained productive.

Barcelona are among the favourites to win the Champions League with many fancying them to dismantle Chelsea in the round of 16.

Lionel Messi and Neymar were team-mates at Barcelona until summer

Getty Images
This was a beautiful sight though, wasn’t it?

However, Messi insists Premier League leaders Man City are one of the strongest contenders.

“Manchester City are one of the strongest teams around, as well as Paris Saint-Germain,” he said.

“I also do not exclude Real Madrid in terms of quality and experience, even though they have not yet achieved the expected results.

“Then there’s Bayern Munich, another great team who will play until the end. Today, however, the best are City and PSG.”

If PSG make it past Real Madrid then most neutrals would love to see Neymar up against his old team-mates in the quarter-finals.


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