Barcelona legend Xavi has revealed the Catalan club's failed efforts in signing Paris Saint-Germain star Marco Verratti last summer and remains hopeful to see him at Camp Nou.
The Italian international has been linked with a move to La Liga, while Manchester United were also rumoured to be interested in signing him. His former agent Donato Di Campli lashed out at Ligue 1 outfit's chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi after claiming his client was a "prisoner of the Emir of Qatar" at PSG.
"Verratti? I would have liked to see him at Barça. They tried to sign him last summer, but PSG did well to keep him. He is a player that I love, technically he has everything," Xavi told French outlet RMC Sport, as quoted by the Mirror.
Verratti, 25, parted ways with Di Campli in order to team-up with super agent Mino Raiola. PSG were successful in retaining the star midfielder, while they also signed Neymar from Barcelona last summer. The Brazilian completed a switch to Parc des Princes for a world-record fee of €222m (£200m, $262m).
The World Cup winner with Spain also heaped praise on Neymar and labeled him an "amazing footballer". He has backed the former Santos man to win the Ballon d'Or in the future, once Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi start to decline.
"I have tremendous respect for Neymar, he's an amazing footballer. When Messi or Ronaldo will be in a bad shape, and we'll see more at Cristiano because of his age , Neymar will be the next Ballon d'Or winner. I'm sure of that," Goal.com reported Xavi as saying.
"He is someone who always wants the ball, ready to do the show and do things well. He is someone who always wants the ball, ready to do the show and do things well. I have the chance to know him personally and he is an exceptional person."
Since moving to PSG, Neymar has scored 25 goals and registered 14 assists in all competitions this season. This includes 18 goals and 11 assists in the Ligue 1.