Does Antonio Conte’s future lie in Paris?
Antonio Conte could get an opportunity to work with Lionel Messi and Neymar at PSG next season, if reports from French outlet Le Parisien are anything to go by. Amid the rumours, the Italian’s old quotes about the two South American superstars have resurfaced.
In 2017, as Conte was gearing up for his second stint at Chelsea, Neymar made the record-breaking €222 million transfer from Barcelona to PSG. Shortly after that, the Blues splashed £70 million to sign Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, and the tactician linked the inflated fees to Neymar’s transfer.
“It is a difficult topic,” the Italian said at the time, as quoted by Football.London. “Neymar is one of the best players in the world; all these types of players finish their career in the same team or they change,” he added.
“We must be ready to accept this type of money. For a normal player, it is £40m-£50m; for a top player, you have to spend this type of money. It is an impressive amount of money, if PSG are able to do this, then why not?”
Antonio Conte has also had positive things to say about Lionel Messi in the past. The Italian praised the PSG attacker after Manchester United beat his Tottenham side 3-2 at Old Trafford last year, with Cristiano Ronaldo bagging an incredible hat-trick.
After the game, Conte hailed the Portuguese alongside Messi as two of the finest players in the history of the game. He said:
“It was an amazing performance from Cristiano, but I know him very well, and it’s not a surprise for me.”
“We’re talking about a player that with Messi, they are the best players in the world right now, with Maradona and Pele (in history) in my opinion; we’re talking about a player who is decisive and in the moment the team needed him he’s always present,” Conte added.
Lionel Messi and Neymar’s stats for PSG this season
The duo reunited in Paris last summer.
Despite his low numbers in the goalscoring department, Lionel Messi has embraced the playmaking role at PSG and has thrived at it. So far, he has recorded 13 assists to go with nine goals for the Parisians across competitions.
Neymar, meanwhile, has a record of 11 goals and seven assists in 25 games across all fronts this campaign. With uncertainties surrounding Mauricio Pochettino’s future, it remains to be seen if Conte ends up linking up with Messi and Neymar in Paris next season.