Lionel Messi told Neymar he’d make him a Ballon d’Or winner in order to keep him
Lionel Messi offered to give Neymar more of the limelight at Barcelona in a final bid to keep the Brazilian at the club, claim reports.
The Argentine and Luis Suarez are said to have made a last-ditch effort to stop Neymar's £199m move to Paris Saint-German.
Messi even said he would help make the Brazilian into a Ballon d'Or winner, according to Spain's Diario Sport .
The discussions reportedly took place in the US before their pre-season match against Juventus last month.
Messi is said to have pulled out all the stops for Neymar.
"What do you want?" he is said to have asked.
"Do you want to be a Ballon d’Or [winner]? I’ll make you the Ballon d’Or.”
Messi is said to have been willing to take on more of a playmaker role, allowing Neymar to play more centrally and take more of the glory, and did exactly that in the Juve match.
But the chat didn't work, with Neymar becoming the world's most expensive player as he moved to France, and Messi shared his disappointment in an emotional tribute.
"It was an enormous pleasure to have shared these years with you my friend @neymarjr I wish you luck in this new stage of your life," he wrote.
Neymar replied: "Thanks brother. I will miss you.”