Neymar: I would have never chosen Manchester City over Barcelona

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Neymar has stoked the fire ahead of Barcelona's Champions League last 16 clash against Manchester City by claiming he was never interested in signing for the Premier League club.

The Brazilian is in his debut season with the Catalan club, after joining from Santos in a deal initially believed to have been worth £48.6 million.

Despite recent troubles with injury, the talented youngster scored on his comeback against Rayo Vallecano over the weekend and is likely to start against Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League showdown at the Etihad Stadium this evening.

Before his switch to the Nou Camp Neymar was linked with a move to various clubs across Europe, including Manchester City.

However the 22-year-old insists he was always heading to Barcelona when he decided to leave Santos, and never considered joining the Citizens.

"I could have left Brazil earlier than I did - but I knew for my development it was about joining the right team at the right time," he said.

'I knew there were other teams interested - but I would not have chosen Manchester City or anybody else.

'When I knew of Barcelona's interest it was an easy choice - they were in my heart right away. We sat down as a family to make the decision - but there was only ever one choice."

Under new boss Manuel Pellegrini Manchester City have progressed to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time in their history, and Neymar says he is well aware of the threat that Barcelona's opponents pose.

"Manchester City are an exceptional side - with good players in every position," he continued.

"Over the last years they have added the best players every season - and it is no surprise they are in the position that they are now.

"We will have to be at our best over the two games - because they are now one of the best teams in Europe.

"England is a very physical league - but we can cope with whatever Manchester City throw at us. We never compromise our style of play to counter another teams style. We play the way we think the game should be played - and if we do that well then we are confident."

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