Coutinho backs Neymar for Barcelona return

Pep Guardiola

GettyPep Guardiola is reportedly keen on a reunion with Neymar

Whilst talking about Arthur, Coutinho said: "He has excellent qualities, I played with him once in the national team and I was pleasantly surprised".

Mundo Deportivo concedes Neymar's courting of Barcelona may even be a tactic to justify a move to Real, given the Catalan club is likely to reject any chance to re-sign the 26-year-old.

Brazilian attacking midfielder Phillipe Coutinho joined FC Barcelona from Liverpool in the recently concluded winter transfer after Jurgen Klopp's club reached an agreement with Barca for a deal worth £142million.

Some reports even claim the Brazil worldwide - who is now sidelined with a foot and ankle injury - wants to return to La Liga next season, with his former club Barca and European and Spanish champions Real Madrid having been mentioned as possible destinations.

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Barca coach Ernesto Valverde called the rumours "fantasy" on Friday but Rakitic was more welcoming to the idea of the Brazil worldwide coming back to the club.

Opting for the surgery on the basis that it would allow him to partake in Brazil's World Cup campaign without hindrance, reports in Spain's Sport are now suggesting that the Brazilian will not play for PSG again.

Neymar's former Barca team-mate Ivan Rakitic, meanwhile, has admitted that he would love to have Neymar back at the Nou Camp.

Jose Mourinho is reportedly hoping to build a team around Neymar while Pep Guardiola is on the hunt for a potential Sergio Aguero replacement.

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"With Neymar, that's life, but I have the same feelings as Rakitic", Coutinho said, as quoted by Marca.

Barcelona is still embroiled in a financial dispute over a bonus due to Neymar last summer, which the club cancelled when it became clear he was moving to PSG.

The 30-year-old told reporters: "Neymar's not said anything to me but if it was up to me, I would open the door for him to come back right now".

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