The former Barcelona defender claimed that while working as the football director at Barcelona, he could have brought Neymar back to Camp Nou in 2019, but the board signed Antoine Griezmann in his place.
Barcelona needed a winger
The return of the Brazilian striker has been discussed for some time prior to the Blaugrana entered into discussions on a possible deal with Paris Saint-Germain. In the end, Griezmann has judged aside from domestic rivals Atlético Madrid, but Abidal is backing a South American superstar that could make a comeback. Former Barca defender Abidal said: “Ten days before the end of the transfer window, I went to Paris to talk to Leonardo and was with my CEO and it was about Neymar. “I think if the CEO goes to Paris Saint-Germain, it’s because we can sign him. If we hadn’t signed Griezmann earlier, I think we could 100 per cent re-sign Neymar because we needed a winger and when Neymar was in Barcelona he was amazing.
“It’s not about which player is better, it was what I thought was the position we needed at the time. The team needed a real winger. The president decided to sign Griezmann. “One of the arguments against Neymar was that he had a lawsuit against the club, so it’s not easy. They said he would have to end the lawsuit if he wanted to return. It wasn’t my problem because I wasn’t at the club when this dispute happened. In my opinion, I could have signed the player, but it did not happen.”
Who were looking for him on the list
Abidal was one of those Barcato be offloaded on the back of a humble 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League that brought the 2019-20 campaign to an end. Former Barcelona boss Quique Setien was also relieved of his duties after just seven months at the helm, and Abidal says he advised the Blaugrana to go in a different direction. He added when compiling the shortlist to replace Ernesto Valverde in January 2020: “I had Mauricio Pochettino, Quique Setien, Max Allegri and Xavi Hernandez on my list. Quique was hired, but my first choice was Pochettino.”