FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi has revealed what he feared as the club failed to complete a sensational return of Neymar to the Camp Nou.
Barcelona looked to secure the return of the Brazil forward during the off-season after he expressed his desire to leave Paris Saint-Germian.
However, the long protracted transfer saga resulted in the world-record transfer holder remaining in Ligue 1 as the club's failed to agree on a fee.
With Real Madrid also mooted as a potential destination for Neymar returning to LaLiga, Messi concedes he thought their fierce rivals would've been able to seal the deal.
This after Real embarked on a record spending spree with Eden Hazard, Eder Miltao, Luka Jovic, Ferland Mendy and Rodrygo all bolstering their options for the 2019/20 season.
READ: Messi to face England ban in UCL?
"I honestly thought that in this market, if he did not come here, he would go to Madrid," Messi told radio station RAC.
"He was really looking forward to leaving and making a change, and he thought that Florentino Perez and Madrid would do something to sign him."
The Blaugrana captain also addressed the recent red card of teammate Ousmane Dembele after he was pictured contesting the referee's decision as they ended the 4-0 win over Sevilla with nine-men.
READ: What Dembele said for red card
"I told the referee that it’s very difficult for Ousmane to say something like that because it’s hard for him to form sentences [in Spanish]," Messi said.
"The coach supported me at a press conference. We were surprised that the referee understood him so clearly because it’s still difficult for him to speak Spanish."