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Argentina midfielder Leandro Paredes has opened up on the controversial conversation between Lionel Messi and Neymar after the Copa America final.
Messi, 34, and Neymar, 29, were seen embracing and talking at length after Argentina battled to a 1-0 victory over Brazil last Sunday to win their first trophy in 28 years.
The two former Barcelona teammates have remained close since Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record £198million transfer in 2017.
There has been speculation Messi could follow his friend to Le Parc des Princes as he is currently a free agent following the expiry of his Camp Nou contract last month.
Paredes has lifted the lid on Neymar and Messi's conversation after the Copa America final
(Image: Antonio Lacerda/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)
The six-time Ballon d'Or winner's wages have proved to be a major sticking point, although he has now reportedly agreed a five-year deal at Barcelona with a huge pay cut.
Indeed, the two friends were not discussing Messi's next move at the Maracana but instead catching up on things aside from football after a long time apart.
Paredes – who plays alongside Messi for Argentina and Neymar for PSG – was also involved in the chat and told TyC Sports : "We were not talking about the final.
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"We talked about how we were doing, how the family was doing, what we were going to do on vacation and what we had done in these 45 days. It was more of something else than the final itself.
"With that you realise the kind of people the two (Messi and Neymar) are. Beyond being stars, they have the humility to sit down after such an important final and talk about other things."
Neymar, meanwhile, was forced to defend his conversation with Messi after he faced criticism in Brazil for the jovial exchange after defeat in the final.
"Losing hurts me, it hurts me… it's something I still haven't learned to live with," he wrote on Instagram. "Yesterday when I lost, I went to give a hug to the biggest and best in history that I saw playing.
"My friend and brother MESSI, I was sad and I told him 'you beat me.' "I am very sad for having lost. But this guy is awesome!
"I have great respect for what he has done for football and especially for me.
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"I HATE TO LOSE!!!! But enjoy your title, football was waiting for you for that moment! CONGRATULATIONS BROTHER."
Paredes echoed Neymar's remarks in his own message of congratulations in which he declared he has "never seen Messi so happy".
The 27-year-old added: "He (Messi) really enjoyed being with us. It was like a graduation trip where we had a lot of fun.
"We won, because we did it against everyone, and we reached the final. For us, it was a really incredible Copa America, a dream come true."