Messi influences Coutinho deal, Neymar to Real Madrid fear, Valverde claim

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho wants to play alongside Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

That’s according to Spanish website Don Balon.

The 25-year-old has been linked with a move to France in recent weeks, with Paris Saint-Germain reportedly interested in snapping him up.

But Coutinho is ready to reject their advances and has told his representatives he is not interested in plying his trade at the Parc des Princes.

He does, however, want to join Barcelona and the appeal of playing alongside Messi is a major reason why.

Barcelona players are fearful that Neymar could join Real Madrid.

The Brazil international is currently in his first season at PSG after leaving the La Liga giants back in August.

But, despite his time in France still being in its infancy, Don Balon say Barcelona players are already worried that he could move to Real Madrid.

They also think he could be a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who is approaching the twilight years of his career.

Ernesto Valverde claims Barcelona are lucky to have Messi in their ranks after his goal against Athletic Bilbao yesterday.

“Messi could have scored another goal if the post hadn’t got in the way, but he’s incredible,” he said.

“He can make the difference at any moment. It was a spectacular goal.

“We’re so lucky that the best player in the world plays for us.”