Barcelona manager Valverde quashes Neymar ‘rumors’

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Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde, who will lead the club for the first time in Saturday’s pre-season match against Juventus, has dismissed speculation linking Neymar with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

“Neymar is with us and we absolutely want him to stay here. The rest is just rumors,” Valverde told reporters at a news conference at Red Bull Arena on Friday ahead of Barcelona’s first game in the International Champions Cup.

“This is a time for rumors,” he added.

Valverde, who played for Barcelona as a forward between 1988 and 1990 under Johan Cruyff, said he had not even discussed the speculation with the Brazilian forward.

“We’ve talked about other stuff such as tactics and other stuff. It’s a player we love and we want. Not only football-wise, but also the things he brings to the locker room.”

Sitting alongside Valverde at the news conference, Sergio Busquets said there was no reason for his team mate to move.

“I don’t think he could be in any better place. I hope that he stays here for many years,” Busquets said.

After the news conference, Neymar joined team mates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez among the rest of the Barcelona squad in warm-ups and practice on the New York Red Bulls field ahead of the match against Juventus at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium.

Valverde said he was still learning about his new side.

“I’m getting to know them little by little in the practice sessions we’ve had. “It’s not an official competition and Juve and ourselves are not in form yet, but I’m eager to see what my players can do on the pitch.”

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