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Marcelo: Cristiano Ronaldo does not own Real Madrid – Neymar is welcome

Brazil's Neymar
Brazil's Neymar

Jamie Johnson

Marcelo, the Real Madrid and Brazil full-back, has said that Neymar will one day play for the European champions, whether or not Cristiano Ronaldo stays at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.

In a pre-World Cup press conference, the 30-year-old defender said: "Look, Cristiano does not own Real Madrid. If the president chooses, anyone can be there. There's no such thing as Neymar not being there because Cristiano is there.

"I am very hopeful that Cristiano Ronaldo stays at Real Madrid, all the players want him to stay, but one thing is not related to the other.

"Neymar will always have open doors at Real Madrid."

Both Ronaldo and Neymar have cut agitated figures recently and both players could move on from their respective clubs this summer.

After the Champions League final win over Liverpool, in which Ronaldo made little impact, the Portuguese made the headlines after suggesting he could leave the Bernabéu. "Now is the time to enjoy this. In the coming days you will have my answer to the fans, the ones who have really been on my side," he said. "It has been very nice being at Real Madrid."

The Real Madrid all-time top scorer later attempted to clarify his comments, but only tangled the web further, saying: "I cannot guarantee that I will stay at Real Madrid, but this is not the moment to talk, as Madrid have made history, but neither am I going to hide. It is difficult to be at a better place than Madrid, the best club in the world, but life is not just about glory."

Spanish newspaper Sport ran the headline 'Cristiano's blackmail' two days later, claiming he was leveraging the Champions League win to fight for a higher wage packet than Lionel Messi. The newspaper also alleged that the Real Madrid dressing room had turned on him after the antics in Kiev, which soured what should have been a fantastic evening.

In Paris, Neymar spent the latter half of Paris St-Germain's treble winning season in the treatment room recovering from a broken metatarsal. The injury, which some feared may keep him out of the World Cup healed in time for him to fire past Croatia in a friendly at Anfield last weekend.

The world-record signing, at nearly £200m, had a high-profile spat with Edinson Cavani over penalty taking duties, and Unai Emery found it hard to manage the big characters in the dressing room. The vocal Brazilian contingent included captain Thiago Silva, right-back Dani Alves and Marquinhos.

Neymar met new PSG manager Thomas Tuchel last month, and the German said: "I met a very friendly, very open guy for the first time. We started talking about football and I saw a smile on his face and that is what I want to see.

"It was an important meeting. He's an artist, one of the best players in the world, a key player to help us win our matches.

"If we find a way to build a structure around him, so he can show all his talent on the pitch, I think we have a key player to win our games."

Online Editors

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