Brazilian superstar Neymar on Thursday sought to quash speculation about his future, insisting he planned to remain with French giants Paris Saint-Germain.
“I’m staying, I’m staying in Paris, I have a contract,” Neymar told reporters at an auction to raise money for his charitable foundation in Sao Paulo.
Neymar, who became the world’s most expensive footballer last year after moving to PSG from Barcelona in a record 222 million euro ($264 million) deal, has repeatedly been linked to a move to Real Madrid.
The European champions have issued a series of statements in recent weeks denying they have an interest in signing the 26-year-old striker.
Speculation of a Neymar move to the Bernabeu has intensified in the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s shock move to Juventus, a development that has left a vacancy at Madrid for an elite, superstar player.
“In the face of the constant reports linking PSG’s Neymar Jr. to our club, Real Madrid C. F. wish to clarify that the club has no intention of making any offer for the player,” a Real Madrid statement said last week.
“The two clubs enjoy an excellent relationship and, as such, if Real Madrid were at any stage to consider securing the services of a PSG player, they would approach the club in the first instance.”
Although Neymar insisted Thursday he was staying in Paris, reports persisted that a move could be on the cards.
British media reports said Thursday PSG were open to the possibility of selling Neymar.
Madrid president Florentino Perez meanwhile said the club was determined to reinforce its squad following Ronaldo’s departure.
“Real has a great squad that is going to be reinforced with magnificent players,” Perez said earlier this week.
“We are aware of the level of demand of the team each season. We are Real Madrid and we always want more. We must reinforce the present and at the same time strengthen the future.”
Real however have also been linked to a move for Chelsea’s Belgium World Cup star Eden Hazard, who indicated on Saturday he was keen to leave the London club.