Even Spain's Prime Minister Doesn't Want Neymar at Real Madrid

Prime minister of Spain and avid Real Madrid fan Mariano Rajoy is hoping the rumors of a potential transfer of Neymar Jr. from Paris to the Bernabeu are false.

Real Madrid has been frequently linked with the Brazilian despite his stunning world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain last summer.

Real president Florentino Perez is believed to have made numerous attempts to sign Neymar, the 26-year-old forward, seeing him as Cristiano Ronaldo's successor. But Rajoy is more interested in another young star from France.

"I wouldn't like to see Neymar in the white shirt," Rajoy told AS. "I don't know about [Kylian Mbappe] but [Gareth] Bale, [Karim] Benzema and Cristiano were great, and within a few months, people are doubting them. We should have a bit more perspective. I believe in them."

Rajoy is likely to be watching when Neymar takes to the Bernabeu pitch on Wednesday night (February 14) in the first leg of PSG's Champions League last-16 tie with Real. Neymar scored three times against Real for Barcelona in seven appearances.

Given PSG's dominance in France and Real's struggles this season, Rajoy suggested many may expect to see Neymar and his teammates ease past Real. Neymar has scored 26 goals in 26 games since arriving at the Parc des Princes to help Unai Emery's team to a 12-point lead at the top of Ligue 1.

PSG's Neymar
Neymar at the Bernabeu stadium, Madrid, Spain, February 13. Neymar has been frequently linked with a move to Real Madrid. CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty

"Thinking rationally, you might believe they will give us a thrashing," he said. "But in these games anything can happen. Let's not forget that this is Real Madrid and that the Champions League is their competition—especially now that they are out of the running for La Liga and they're out of the Copa del Rey," he said.

"It's more or less the same team as last season and we're talking about the defending champions—the side which has won three of the last four Champions Leagues. I think we can eliminate PSG."

Real, meanwhile, are fourth in the Spanish La Liga and 17 points behind leaders and rivals Barcelona, who also have a game in hand. They were also knocked out of the Copa del Rey by lowly Leganes after being beaten at home last month.

Zidane is under increasing pressure but insists he is not thinking about his future. "I'm only thinking about the game as it's the only thing we can control so we're focusing on preparing for the game and we'll see what happens," he said.

"There will always be pressure here, it's something habitual, but I'm going to keep enjoying myself."