Barcelona manager Xavi is thought to have made the choice that kept Neymar from returning to the club this summer.
Brazil’s all-time leading scorer signed for Al-Hilal earlier this week, but a return to Camp Nou was rumoured.
According to the Brazilian newspaper Globo, Neymar did not get a single approach from a European team before deciding to relocate to Saudi Arabia.
After new PSG manager Luis Enrique informed Neymar that he was not in his plans for the season, a transfer to Saudi Arabia became the 31-year-old’s only alternative.
According to the story, it was Xavi who rejected the trade, refusing to give the go-ahead even though Barcelona would have struggled to afford the player.
Barca recently had to hurriedly dispose Ousmane Dembele and Franck Kessie in order to sign Ilkay Gundogan, Inigo Martinez, and Oriol Romeu before their season opener against Getafe.
Neymar was reportedly interested in returning to his former club, but after the transfer fee and salary were revealed, it is clear why Barcelona may have struggled to finance it in the first place.
PSG received £86.3 million from Al-Hilal, and Neymar will earn about £80 million each year.
The same team was interested in Kylian Mbappe and even had a proposal accepted by PSG, but the French international indicated he had no interest in relocating to the Gulf state.
With Neymar gone, it looks Mbappe will remain at PSG, despite a summer-long disagreement over his future.
Xavi’s unwillingness to re-sign Neymar demonstrates his steely desire to do things his way at Barcelona.
It has recently been discovered that his refusal to offer Ansu Fati regular first-team minutes will also cause him to leave the club.
For the time being, Neymar’s time in Europe is done, and he might make his Al-Hilal debut against Al Feiha on Saturday, alongside newcomers Ruben Neves, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and Brazilian teammate Malcom.
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