Former Barcelona midfielder Deco understands why Neymar wanted to return to Camp Nou, and revealed he feels Xavi Hernandez ‘wasn’t always valued.’
Speaking to EFE and reported by AS, Deco, now an agent, believes Neymar’s desire to go back to Barca was motivated by something more than the money on offer.
“Since Neymar left he had one eye on returning, which is normal. When you’re content, happy, and he made a decision, not that it was wrong, but he was at ease where he was,” Deco noted.
“Football isn’t just about money, it’s also about being at ease and happy. He’s a professional, and a great guy. I understand that Paris Saint-Germain don’t want to lose a player like him and I understand Barca wanting him back. These are complicated situations.
“It’s normal that the Barca players would want him back. They know him, they’re his friends, thinking Neymar will return.”
Deco was then asked about his experience playing with the likes of Xavi and Andres Iniesta, and shared his belief that the two were treated differently at Barca.
“Xavi, for me, was a player not always very valued at Barca. At first they never gave him his due, but he won important things with his national team and that gave him the confidence to be what he became at Barca,” Deco argued.
“He exploded in 2008, and was, for me, for five or six years, the best midfielder in the world.
“Iniesta was a different case. He was always an important player. It grew over time. [Xavi and Iniesta] represent the best a midfielder can be and represent a lot of the Barca style and the style of the Spain team.
“After Xavi and Iniesta we’ve seen a more direct Barca, in counters, in transition. Although when you have quality players, you’ll have the ball. Barca have always looked for players with that ability.”