Xavi: Neymar revealed Barcelona exit plan at Lionel Messi's wedding
Barcelona legend Xavi Hernandez has revealed Neymar told him at Lionel Messi's wedding on June 30 that he wanted to leave the club.
Xavi, 37, left Barca in 2015 for Al Sadd in Qatar but was a guest at Messi's nuptials last summer. And, though Neymar didn't leave in a €222 million transfer until Aug. 3, the Brazilian made his plans clear at an early stage.
"Neymar had the really big decision of himself to decide his future and he decided to go to Paris Saint-Germain," Xavi told the BBC World Service.
"He said to us at Messi's wedding that he wanted to change, he wanted to change the club. I said to him but why? He said: 'I'm not happy in Barcelona and I prefer to go out, to have a new experience in Europe, in Paris Saint-German.' And finally, that was his decision. We must respect it."
In a bid to close the gap on the likes of Barca, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, PSG went big in the transfer market in the summer, signing Neymar and bringing in Kylian Mbappe from Monaco in a deal which will eventually cost them €180m.
PSG have won four of the last five Ligue 1 titles since being taken over by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, but they have constantly come up short on Europe's top stage, never making it further than the quarterfinals.
Xavi, though, feels the French side's transfer activity will enable them to compete for the trophy that Al-Khelaifi desires above all others.
"I think with Neymar, with Mbappe, PSG have a great chance to win the Champions League this season," he said.
Mbappe, who agent Josep Maria Minguella has claimed would have preferred to join Barca, and Neymar have hit the ground running in the French capital.
Between them they have scored 13 goals as PSG have made an impressive to start the season, leading both the Ligue 1 table and their Champions League group, which includes Bayern.
Xavi also spoke about the time he nearly signed for Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United, before eventually opting to stay at Barca, and once again reiterated his desire to move into coaching in the coming years.
"I want to be a coach," said the midfielder. "I feel that I can do it. At least I will try. Because I love football. I love staying in the pitch. I love helping players. I love the football. I love the game. I cannot imagine myself in an office with a computer."
Samuel Marsden covers Barcelona for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @SamuelMarsden.