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Rakitic on Neymar return: 'I would open the door for him to come back right now'

ESPN FC's Julien Laurens tries to make sense of the rumours linking Neymar with a move back to Spain.

Ivan Rakitic says the door is always open if Neymar decides he wants to return to Barcelona.

Neymar left Barca for Paris Saint-Germain for €222 million last August, but Catalan newspaper Mundo Deportivo reported that he wants to return to Camp Nou in the wake of the French side's elimination from the Champions League this week.

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

"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," Rakitic told reporters after Barca beat Malaga to move 11 points clear at the top of La Liga.

"Not just because of the relationship I have with him, but because of the type of player he is. I would always put Neymar in my team."

Neymar and Rakitic
Ivan Rakitic says he'd always put Neymar in his team.

Neymar spent four years at Barcelona before leaving for Paris last summer, but his time in the French capital has been fraught with speculation about his future.

Diario AS reported this week that Barca's rivals Real Madrid have already told Neymar's father, who also serves as his manager, that they are willing to meet PSG's asking price of €400m.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane tried to avoid questions about "a player who plays for another club" on Friday, but he did say he believed that such a price would soon be entirely possible.

Meanwhile, Spanish newspaper ABC claimed on Saturday that Neymar has already instructed his father to find a way for him to leave PSG for Madrid as soon as possible.

Neymar is currently back in Brazil where he is recovering from surgery on the fractured metatarsal which forced him to miss PSG's loss to Madrid in the Champions League last Tuesday.

PSG have said that the injury will be assessed again in six weeks but it's unlikely he will play for the Ligue 1 side again this season, with his focus now on being fully fit for the World Cup in Russia this summer.

Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.

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