Brazil’s Neymar triggered a guessing game on his return from China on Tuesday, posting a video on social media apparently from Dubai but leaving his final destination — Paris or Barcelona — a mystery.
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As speculation mounts of an imminent record-busting transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar’s video appeared to be from the first class lounge at Dubai airport.
The 25-year-old forward, who was in Shanghai on Monday fulfilling a sponsor’s engagement, also posted a photo with the caption in Portuguese: “Lunch at half-way”.
In another video posted from an aeroplane, Neymar jokes around with an image messaging app that superimposed a Spanish flag and a small plane on his tee-shirt — suggesting he is indeed headed home to Barcelona.
The decor in that video was identifiable as from an Emirates aeroplane.
Earlier reports claimed that he was headed from China to Doha, to meet PSG’s Qatari owners and pass a medical before his reported 222-million-euro ($260 million) move from Barca.
But his being on an Emirates plane rules out Doha as a possible destination given the diplomatic crisis between Qatar and its Gulf neighbours.
Other reports had said the Barcelona forward could be headed directly to Paris after deciding to quit the Spanish club.
BeIN Sport, like PSG backed by Qatar, said in a tweet in Arabic on Monday that Neymar had decided to leave the Catalan club, citing a club management source at Barcelona.
However, following his latest social media postings, some Spanish media were reporting that Neymar is headed home to Barcelona and is expected to arrive on a flight from Dubai at 8.55pm (1855 GMT).
While Neymar has studiously remained silent about his future, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde is expecting him back at the club on Wednesday for the resumption of training, although Spanish sports media claim he won’t turn up.