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MADRID, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 14: Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid and Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain walk during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 First Leg match between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain at Bernabeu on February 14, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by TF-Images/ Getty Images)

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Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi are the only three superstars in world football and should not play at the same club, according to super-agent Pini Zahavi.

In comments likely to cool rumours linking Neymar to Real Madrid, Zahavi—who acted as intermediary in the Brazilian’s £200 million move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last summer—told Polish outlet Przeglad Sportowy the forward left the Blaugrana in the first place to step out of Messi’s shadow (via ESPN.co.uk):

Neymar did what he had to. There are only three football superstars—Messi, Cristiano and Neymar. They can’t play in one club. At Barca, Ney always was the No. 2. He was the second to shoot from free-kicks, second to the penalties, second to everything. He came to Spain as a young boy. He grew up. Now he’s 26 and has eight or nine years at the top level. He needs independence.”

TOPSHOT - Barcelona players Luis Suarez (L), Neymar (C) and Lionel Messi (R) take part in a training session at Barry University in Miami, Florida, on July 27, 2017, two days before their International Champions Cup friendly match against Real Madrid / AF

AFP Contributor/Getty Images

Neymar has enjoyed a mixed first season with PSG.

His individual statistics are fairly remarkable—25 goals and 16 assists in a combined 27 Ligue 1 and UEFA Champions League appearances—and PSG are on track to regain the French title after losing out to Monaco last season.

However, they fell meekly to Real in the last 16 of the Champions League, and there have been ongoing rumours Neymar is unhappy at the Parc des Princes.

L’Equipe and Sport (via the Mirror‘s Aaron Flanagan) have reported Neymar regrets his transfer to Paris and is plotting a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

As noted by Zahavi, though, it would be a strange move for Neymar to escape being Messi’s No. 2 only to join Real, where he would be in the shadow of Ronaldo.

The Portuguese superstar is now 33 but continues to return remarkable numbers—his record in 2018 is staggering, per Fox Sports:

Eventually age is sure to catch up with Ronaldo, and it will then be vital for Real to replace him.

Neymar would be an obvious choice, and he may well end up at the Bernabeu in the future. But Zahavi’s latest comments suggest an imminent move to Los Blancos is unlikely. 

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