What Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has said about Neymar and Lionel Messi amid PSG rumours

The race for fourth in the Premier League took another big twist over the past week. Tottenham appeared to be in the drivers seat to claim the final spot in next season’s Champions League but wins for Arsenal against Chelsea and Manchester United have shifted the momentum again.

Meanwhile, Antonio Conte’s side have taken just one point from clashes with Brighton and Brentford, now two points adrift of their north London rivals. It is no an impossible task by any means, but there is no doubting that Mikel Arteta holds an advantage over his Italian counterpart.

Almost predictably, a rocky patch of Tottenham form has led to rumours that Conte could once again be on the move, this time reportedly throwing his hat into the ring to take over from Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain. The Ligue 1 Champions are eager to get rid of Pochettino and the Italian has offered his services, according to French outlet Le Parisien.

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A move to the French capital would give Conte the chance to win with two of the world’s most exciting talents, in the form of Lionel Messi and Neymar. While Kylian Mbappe may well still sign a new contract at the Parc des Princes, it is the South Americans who will definitely remain under Conte should he take the job.

They are two stars he has been ready to praise in the past as well. Back in 2017, as he prepared for his second season in charge of Chelsea, Neymar made the record-breaking move from Barcelona to PSG. Not long after, the Blues spent £70 million on Alvaro Morata and Conte linked the inflated fees back to the Brazilian’s transfer.

“It is a difficult topic,” he said at the time. “Neymar is one of the best players in the world, all these types of players finish their career in the same team or they change. We must be ready to accept this type of money. For a normal player, it is £40m-£50m, for a top player you have to spend this type of money. It is an impressive amount of money, if PSG are able to do this then why not?”

Praise was poured on Messi after Manchester United beat Conte’s Tottenham 3-2 at Old Trafford. Cristiano Ronaldo popped up with a hat-trick and after the game, the Italian named the Portuguese alongside Messi as two of the best in the world and in the sport’s history.

“It was an amazing performance from Cristiano, but I know him very well and it’s not a surprise for me,” he said. “We’re talking about a player that with Messi they are the best players in the world right now, with Maradona and Pele [in history] in my opinion, we’re talking about a player who is decisive and in the moment the team needed him he’s always present.”

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