Neymar says it is “very unfair” his close friend Lucas has been forced out of Paris Saint-Germain as the Brazil international winger closes in on a move to Tottenham Hotspur.
Following Neymar’s world record signing last summer, Lucas has been pushed to the fringes of the PSG squad, playing just 76 minutes of Ligue 1 football for the runaway French leaders this season.
The forward, who joined PSG from Sao Paulo in January 2013, is expected to sign a four-and-a-half-year contract to complete a €27 million switch to Spurs on Wednesday, and Neymar – for one – will be sad to see him go.
“I’m sad because he’s a good friend, a quality player who has been used very little,” the former Barcelona man told media following PSG’s Coupe de la Ligue semi-final win at Rennes on Tuesday.
“I think it’s very unfair. He’s my brother in football. I wish him all the best. Regardless of the destination, I hope he’ll score a lot of goals and that he’ll return to the Brazil team.”
Lucas’ arrival at the Parc des Princes was billed as giving the South American prodigy a springboard to join his most illustrious compatriots among football’s global elite.
Exhilarating at times, he has, however, failed to produce his best consistently. His best season was, ironically, the last one when he scored 12 goals in 37 games and was the player most-used by PSG boss Unai Emery.
“He’s not just a friend, he’s someone who has a lot of quality,” Neymar continued. “He could have been used a lot more here, I’m sure of that, but I’m not the team’s owner. For me, he should never have left Paris.”
Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman