Barcelona midfielder Arthur Melo has expressed the hope that Brazil teammate Neymar will return to the Catalan club, less than 18 months after his world-record transfer to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

Neymar has scored 44 goals in 49 matches for the French side but there has been speculation that the 26-year-old is unhappy and angling for a return to the Camp Nou.

“Personally, I’m praying that he comes because he is a great player,” Arthur was quoted as saying by Brazil’s Uol news portal on Tuesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

“That’s unquestionable. The more top qualify players we have, the better [for Barcelona]. But only he knows. I don’t how if there are negotiations and possibilities of him coming back. He is a personal friend and a footballer who I admire a lot. I’d be really happy if he came back,” he added.

Neymar won two La Liga titles, a Champions League title, three Spanish Cups, a Spanish Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup in a four-year spell at Barcelona.

He became the most expensive footballer in history when he joined Paris Saint-Germain for 222 million euros in August 2017.