Spanish international defender Pique indicated the South American maestro would continue at Camp Nou by tweeting a photo of Neymar with the caption “He’s staying.”
The message came hours after Neymar gave Barcelona fans a dazzling reminder of what he brings, the talisman scoring twice as the Spanish giants defeated Juventus 2-1 in a pre-season friendly Saturday in New Jersey.
The 25-year-old Brazilian superstar is at the centre of frenzied speculation linking him to a world record 222-million-euro ($256.8 million) transfer to Paris Saint-Germain.
French newspaper Le Parisien reported on its website late Sunday that the transfer of Neymar to PSG could be made official in the next few days.
And ESPN’s website reported, citing an unnamed source, that Neymar had no idea why Pique tweeted the photo and message. The report also said sources had Neymar wanting to move to the French club and agreeing to terms on a deal for at least four years.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde swatted down talk of Neymar departing to France on Friday, dismissing “rumours” while saying the squad wants him to stay for years to come.
“This is a time of rumours. We understand it’s how it is,” Valverde said. “He is with us right now. One of us. It’s a player we love and we want. Not only football-wise but also for the things he brings to the locker room.
“It’s only rumours. There’s no need to worry about something we don’t know if it’s going to happen or not. If it happens in the future, we’ll see. But no need to worry about it now.”
Barcelona, with Neymar set to be in the lineup, play a pre-season friendly against Manchester United on Wednesday at Washington.