Gerard Pique on Neymar tweet - I knew he was going
Barcelona defender Gerard Pique admitted on Saturday that when he sent his now infamous 'Se Queda' tweet he knew Neymar was going to leave.
Paris Saint-Germain raided Barcelona for the Brazilian winger earlier in August, leaving the Catalans with €222 million but a gaping hole in their strike force.
Barcelona take on rivals Real on Sunday in the Super Cup first leg with no replacement yet for the Brazilian striker -- although media reports have linked them to Borussia Dortmund's Ousmane Dembele and Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho.
Replacing Neymar in the long term is a difficult task, though, and defender Gerard Pique told a news conference of his desperate attempt to get him to stay.
Pique tweeted a picture of himself and Neymar with the caption, "he stays", little over a week before the Brazilian departed.
"I don't feel tricked by Neymar. The day I said 'he stays' I knew that he was going 100 per cent. It was the final shot," said Pique.
"He got angry with me but we worked it out. I did it to use my social networks to help this club to keep a player who has a unique talent. It was difficult but I tried to help my club."
Neymar Getty Images
New Barca manager Ernesto Valverde said that he believes his team can cope with the Brazilian's departure.
"For Neymar's absence I have a lot of players who are ready to play," Valverde told a news conference on Saturday. "You have to look forward, not back."
Ernesto ValverdeGetty Images
Barcelona brought Deulofeu back from Everton this summer but he missed the club's pre-season tour with a reported muscle strain and has featured in only one friendly.
Instead the coach might look to Paco Alcacer to play on the left, or change formation from 4-3-3 to 4-4-2 to match Real Madrid, and incorporate an extra midfielder, which could be Sergi Roberto, whom Valverde praised.