Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde complained that questions about Neymar are never ending after the Brazilian pushed ahead with his lawsuit against the Spanish champions on Friday.
Neymar is claiming Barca owe him €26 million as part of a loyalty bonus from the contract he signed with the club in 2016. The Spanish champions, meanwhile, have sued the Brazilian for breach of contract following his world record €222m move in 2017.
Despite that, Barca attempted to re-sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain this summer after he expressed a desire to rejoin the club.
With the relationship between both parties improved, there was hope that they could reach an out of court settlement. However, sources told ESPN FC on Friday that a late request from Neymar’s people saw negotiations break down and the court case go ahead.
Valverde was asked in the summer how bored he was of the Neymar transfer saga, responding “nine and a half out of 10,” and he’s not especially amused that the forward remains omnipresent.
“The Neymar stuff never ends,” he said in a news conference. “In the summer, we wanted September to arrive [for the rumours to end]… I have nothing to say.
“They’re internal questions and they’re to do with the player over contractual issues. It’s handled above me. I don’t think there’s been a news conference when we haven’t spoken about Neymar. Let’s see if we can manage that one day.”
Barca’s need for Neymar has been exemplified by a poor start to the season — their worst in 25 years.
They travel to Getafe on Saturday in La Liga in search of their first away win of the campaign. They do so without Lionel Messi, who injured his thigh against Villarreal in his first start of the season on Tuesday.
Sources have told ESPN FC that Messi is also a major doubt for upcoming games against Inter Milan and Sevilla, but Valverde admits he doesn’t know when the Argentine will be back.
“If he returns soon it’s a boost for us and if not then we will be missing a player who is absolutely decisive,” Valverde said of Messi. “But we have the resources to manage without him, it’s a setback, but we need to keep going.”
Meanwhile, Luis Suarez is three games without a goal and was jeered by his own fans against Villarreal. Valverde says he needs time to fine tune his game after a recent injury.
Barca were dealt another blow as teenage sensation Ansu Fati was also ruled out of the Getafe match after complaining of discomfort in his right knee.
Ansu, 16, has netted in two of his five appearances since breaking into the first team and last month became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer.
Valverde also voiced his preference Ansu to play for Spain U21s instead of the U17s in order to limit his time away from the club
“I would like the player to spend more time with us,” Valverde said. “If he goes with the U21s, it would be during the international break. In contrast, if he’s with the U17s, he would be gone for a while.
“But we have to see what happens; what the RFEF decide. We don’t have much to say. Everyone looks at it from their point of view, logically, and we want to lose him for as little time as possible.”