When Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain in August it sent shockwaves through European football. The Brazilian star left Barcelona on a world-record transfer fee, signing a five-year contract with PSG after it triggered his 222 million euros ($263 million) release clause, while he would take home an estimated wage of $650,000 a week.

But it may not have taken long for Neymar to miss Spain. Sources told Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo last week that Neymar wants to return to the Catalans. 

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde quickly shot down the speculation, describing a possible Neymar return as "a fantasy."

But in four seasons at Camp Nou, Neymar looked like an ideal fit with one of the best forward trios in recent memory and Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic on Saturday told reporters the door should be open for Neymar to return.

"Neymar's not said anything to me, but if it was up to me I would open the door for him to come back right now," Rakitic said. "Not just because of the relationship I have with him, but because of the type of player he is. I would always put Neymar in my team."

The rumors didn't end there. Another Spanish publication, AS, wrote that Barcelona's rival, Real Madrid, would pay as much as 400 million euros ($492 million) to bring the 26-year-old to the Santiago Bernabeu. 

At the moment, Neymar is arguably the world's third-most recognizable player, behind veterans Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. For aReal Madrid, which often values big names like David Beckham to make the club look larger than life, splashing such an exorbitant fee to acquire an effective goal scorer and a famed superstar wouldn't be out of character. In 2013, Real Madrid broke the world transfer record to sign Gareth Bale for 85.3 million euros ($105 million) after previously breaking the transfer fee for Ronaldo in 2009 at 80 million euros ($98 million).

When asked about the possibility of a 400-million-euro player, Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane didn't slam the idea. When Zidane, as a player, left Juventus for Real Madrid in 2001, Los Blancos reportedly paid something close to 77 million euros ($95 million), in what was then a world-record fee.

"More than 10 years later a player costs 220 million euros ($270 million). In 10 years they might spend 400 million euros. Or even earlier than that," Zidane said.

It wouldn't be surprising if the possible 400 million euros for Neymar is a gross exaggeration and that Real Madrid was just using the media to boast about their wealth and prestige. The club is in fact quite loaded with resources, but such a fee would likely lead to depth issues and Real Madrid probably isn't interested in losing ground to Barcelona or other La Liga clubs.

It's also possible that PSG may be reluctant to lose Neymar. The club, owned by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments, has put together a collection of star players and there aren't many bigger than Neymar. PSG would also like to see Champions League success, and the club recently was eliminated by Real Madrid.

Neymar, meanwhile, is battling a foot injury and his status for the 2018 World Cup is unclear.

GettyImages-918988660 Ronaldo and Neymar talk after a Champions League match. Photo: Getty