‘With Neymar in, I’d sell Messi’

Former Barcelona player, Coach and honorary President Johan Cruyff says he would only have signed Neymar if a sale for Lionel Messi was also planned.

Barca have brought in the Brazilian youngster this summer in a €57m deal from Santos, but for one of the Catalans’ legends, it is a risky move and one he would not have taken himself.

“It could [create jealousy],” explained Cruyff in conversation with Marca today.

“It’s like with the free-kicks. Neymar takes great free-kicks. And Messi has already shown the same in Barcelona. From now on, who’s going to take them?

“Or the fact that Neymar and Barcelona are with Nike while Leo is with Adidas. These are situations that could cause problems.

“With Neymar on board, I would have planned for the possibility of selling Messi, and some would agree with that, others not.

“You are talking about a team, its players, the things around it…There are too many things at stake.

“That's why it's so difficult to manage such a top class squad, there are very few people who are used to doing this.

“If they work out well together then undoubtedly it could be formidable. We will have to wait and see – it could turn out well or badly. It’s a risk. I would not have signed Neymar.”

The Dutchman was asked if Neymar would experience something similar to Samuel Eto’o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in playing alongside Messi.

“As you put it, it seems that Messi is a dictator. When you have the possibility of being the best in every game, you have to be a little dictator because you are playing not only for the team for also as number one and for prestige.

“In that sense the pressure on Messi is huge because everyone who goes to the stadium expects to see wonders. And these wonders come out of things that have to work.

“It makes sense because he is above the rest and if things do not work out then he is the first one that will be blamed.

“It’s the problem with being number one, so you have to be very picky with your team. On and off the field.”

Tags Cruyff Messi Neymar