Brazilian star Neymar has backed his FC Barcelona teammate Lionel Messi over the Argentine’s tax fraud conviction. Meanwhile, Swansea have entered the race to sign wantaway Catalan winger Cristian Tello.
Neymar refers to Messi as his idol
According to the BBC, Barcelona attacker Lionel Messi has been sentenced to 21 months in prison for tax fraud. His teammate Neymar, who had previously been involved in a case involving his finances, spoke in support of the Argentina captain.
In an interview with Sport, the Brazilian said:
“Messi is not only my friend, he is also my idol, and I will always support him. I can imagine what he is going through.”
For an internationally celebrated superstar like Messi, it has been a turbulent few months. It all began with a Champions League quarter-final exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid which was then followed by yet another Copa America final defeat at the hands of Chile. Messi’s decision to retire from international football in the aftermath of that defeat stumped millions of fans and shocked the footballing world.
Speaking about Messi’s shock retirement, Neymar said:
“I respect his decisions. But football, without Leo, is not football. It is very difficult to conceive of football without Leo. For those who like football, it is impossible to not like what Messi does for Barça and his national team.”
Swansea emerge as shock suitors for Barca outcast Cristian Tello
As reported by Alan Nixon of the Sun, Premier League side Swansea City have joined fellow English club Southampton, and Serie A side Fiorentina, in the race to sign Barcelona wantaway Cristian Tello. A sum of £15 million is reportedly being demanded by the Catalan giants.
Tello was once touted as the next the big star in Blaugrana history, and during his glory days, top English sides like Liverpool and Manchester United were vying for his signature. However, since the mega-hype, the Spaniard’s career has spiraled downwards. By making a move to the Premier League, the 24-year old may unleash his inner potential, and return to his ferocious best.
The Spanish winger spent the 2015/16 season on loan at Fiorentina, and put in a number of stellar performances for La Viola. According to WhoScored, the 24-year old netted 2 goals and provided 4 assists in only 13 starts for his side. Predominantly a right-winger, Tello can be deployed through the middle, as well as well as on the opposite flank. He would be a welcome addition to England’s top-tier, and could bolster the ranks of the mid-table sides.