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Alves urges ‘friend’ Neymar to show courage

Neymar of Barcelona vies for the ball with Real Madrid during their International Champions Cup football match at Hard Rock Stadium on July 29, 2017 in Miami, Florida © AFP / HECTOR RETAMAL

TANGIERS, Morocco, Jul 30 – Veteran Brazil international full-back Dani Alves said he is hopeful superstar Neymar will join him at Paris Saint Germain but insisted he isn’t using his personal friendship to sway the Barcelona forward’s decision.

The two were team-mates at Barca from Neymar’s arrival in 2013 until Alves left to join Juventus a year ago.

Having joined PSG, 34-year-old Alves hopes Neymar will show courage and decide to swell the French capital club’s large Brazilian contingent, that includes forward Lucas Moura, and centre-backs Thiago Silva and Marquinhos.

Neymar, 25, is involved in a tug of war between the two European giants with his potential transfer to Paris the major saga of the off season.

“I hope it will happen. I’ve got nothing to do with his decision, it’s a very important decision for him,” said Alves, after scoring in PSG’s French Super Cup victory over Monaco in Tangiers on Saturday.

“Men have to make these kind of decisions. I hope he’ll join us, he’s one of my best friends and I always want my friends to be close by.

“I can’t interfere in his decision. It’s his decision to make but we’ll welcome him with open arms if he comes.”

PSG are allegedly weighing up whether or not to trigger Neymar’s 222-million-euro ($261 million) release clause, which would more than double the biggest transfer fee ever paid, currently the £89 million (105 million euros, $115 million) Manchester United forked out to bring back France midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus.

Pogba was then instrumental in convincing his friend Romelu Lukaku to join United from Everton for £75 million earlier this month.

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But Alves says he won’t be trying to influence his compatriot.

“I helped him once, I helped him come to Barcelona. I didn’t make the decision for him, but I simply told him what there was at Barca, and he decided to go there,” said Alves.

“Decisions are for the courageous. I’m the most courageous: I decided to quit Barca, to quit Juve; I always make my decisions.

“He has to decide for his maturity and his ideas about continuing to improve.”

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