It was hard to avoid the name Neymar throughout the summer transfer window.
The Brazilian superstar was constantly linked with a return to Barcelona, but a deal never materialised despite the persistent rumours.
Paris Saint-Germain kept hold of their prized asset, leaving the Blaugrana to make do with the likes of Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann to support Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Throughout the rumours, there were always sporadic pieces of information stating that Messi was demanding the signing of Neymar to the Barca board.
The South American pair forged a lethal partnership on the pitch during Neymar's short time in Catalonia, winning the treble in 2015.
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But in his latest big interview, Messi has stated that he did not demand the Brazilian be re-signed, but simply 'voiced his opinion' that his re-acquisition would benefit the club.
"I would have loved Neymar to have rejoined the club," Messi told Sport. "Honestly, I don't know if Barcelona did everything possible to ensure his return.
"However, it is certainly true that negotiating with PSG isn't easy. On a sporting level, Neymar is one of the best in the world. The club would also have taken a leap in terms of the level of image rights and sponsors.
"I never asked for the signing of Neymar. All I did was give my opinion.
"I'm not disappointed [that he didn't sign]. We have a have a spectacular squad, which can compete for everything, even without Neymar."
Fair play, Lionel.
It's understandable that he would want arguably the world's third best player back on his side to challenge for the Champions League once again.
But in Suarez, Griezmann and Dembele, with the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Arthur Melo supporting, Barca already have a squad capable of dominating Europe.
They just need Messi to shake off his calf injury as soon as possible, as the Argentine will miss Saturday's La Liga clash with crisis-club Valencia.News Now - Sport News