Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has asked team president Josep Maria Bartomeu to bring Neymar back to the club two years after his much-discussed about departure in 2017, Spanish daily El Mundo has reported.
Sources close to the top management of Barcelona told the newspaper that Messi and Bartomeu have been talking about bringing Neymar, currently caught up in a rape case, back to the club, with a plot to re-sign him apparently being hatched ever since he left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.
According to El Mundo's sources, Barcelona is may try to get Neymar back in exchange for $135 million, plus Antoine Griezmann, an Atletico Madrid forward who reportedly reached a pre-contract transfer agreement with Barcelona earlier this year.
Neymar's personal life came to the forefront of public attention earlier this month after 26-year-old Brazilian model Najila Trindade accused him of raping her in a swanky Paris hotel room in mid-May. Neymar has denied any wrong-doing in the case, with Trindade's third lawyer in row dropping the case without explanation.
Last week, Sao Paulo police filed a slander complaint against the model after she accused police of being "bought" off in Neymar's favour after authorities began questioning her ex-husband about her general character.
Trindade accused the football star of becoming violent with her after she asked him to put on a condom during a consensual sexual encounter.
Neymar faced a rocky several months even before the rape claims, including several injuries, reports of spats with teammates, and a three-match ban for punching a fan after Paris Saint-Germain's defeat at the French Cup final in April.
The rape allegations have put Neymar's multi-million dollar sponsorship deals in jeopardy, with Nike voicing concerns over the charges and MasterCard suspending its marketing deal with the star.