- La Liga
Messi & Barcelona 'awaiting Neymar's arrival'
Barcelona's South America representative Andre Cury has openly professed the club's desire to recruit Santos forward Neymar, insisting the players are eagerly awaiting his arrival.
Although both parties have remained coy on the prospect of a deal for the Brazil international to move to Spain, Cury has suggested it is only a matter of time before an agreement is reached.
Neymar has assured Santos he will see out his current contract and not leave Brazil until after next year's World Cup, although the club are attempting to secure his services on a long-term contract.
Cury told Radio Globo that Barcelona are "extremely interested in Neymar" and is confident the Catalan giants will make a serious offer in the summer.
"He is top of the wish list for planned signings and our players are aware of this," Cury said. "At Barcelona we do not usually sign many players, and he is our first choice. When he decides to leave Santos, we will be ready.
"But, if possible, we will start negotiations this summer. Messi, Xavi and Iniesta are already awaiting him with open arms."
Cury continued his praise of Neymar by claiming the 21-year-old's arrival at the Camp Nou would relieve Lionel Messi of some pressure, similar to the Argentinean's influence after Brazilian attacker Ronaldinho left the club in 2008.
"Neymar coming to Barcelona will put an end to two types of overdependence: dependence on Neymar at Santos, as he would have left, and overdependence on Messi at Barcelona, as we would then have another player at his level," Cury added.
"In two or three years Messi will be able to pass on the Barcelona baton to Neymar, just like Ronaldinho passed it to him, even if this happened in a way that was not altogether pleasing to us - Ronnie left the club and we would have liked him to have stayed."
Neymar once again responded to the rumours from the Barcelona camp, thanking them for their interest despite stating he is not yet ready to make a decision on his future.
"Who is not a fan of Barcelona?" he told Sport.es. "I'm happy and I appreciate their affection and support. Regardless of whatever team I sign for, I'm one of the happiest people in the world... When my family and I are ready, we will be happy to speak, but for now I ask for calm."