Lionel Messi is MORE important to Barcelona because of Neymar – Gary Lineker

Lionel Messi is even more important now that Neymar has left Barcelona, according to Gary Lineker.

Neymar left Barcelona for PSG this summer when they paid his £200m release clause.

But Messi has gone from strength to strength with with 13 goals in 14 La Liga games and three in five in the Champions League.

He signed a new contract last week and Lineker thinks his importance to Barcelona has increased further since the Neymar left, despite now being aged 30.

“I think Neymar leaving made Messi more important to Barcelona,” Lineker to Goal.com .

“Messi is in his 30s, what’s he got left? Maybe two more years in his peak and maybe he will start to decline. Hopefully he has two more good years in him before the legs start to go.

“It happens to all of us, even those who are gifts from the footballing gods.”

And Lineker thinks Barca will need to go back in search of the heir to Messi’s thrown after thinking Neymar was their man.

They signed Ousmane Dembele in the summer but the France winger has struggled with injury.

Philippe Coutinho was the club’s number one target but Liverpool refused to do business.

“I suppose they always thought Neymar would move up to be the next superstar, but that’s not going to happen at Barcelona now,” he added.

“They need another big Neymar-style signing and they have the Neymar money [to pull it off].”