Neymar famously became the most expensive player in history last summer when Paris Saint-Germain triggered a €222m buyout clause to release him from his Barça contract.
It was said at the time that, despite the enormous personal financial incentive, it was his ambition to step out of the shadow at Lionel Messi at Camp Nou and prove himself as the best player in the world by winning the long elusive Champions League for PSG.
Instead, PSG have crashed out of the Champions League at the first knockout round, with Neymar back home in Brazil while he recuperates from a broken metatarsal that could yet hamper his fitness for the World Cup later this year.
A report from Mundo Deportivo (MD) on Friday suggested that even before his injury and PSG's Champions League exit, Neymar has 'repeatedly' offered to return to Barcelona.
The 26-year-old has apparently made his desire clear through contact with his former team-mates and with an 'SOS' to Camp Nou executives and employees, as well as one un-named director.
MD claims that Neymar feels he has made a mistake in making a decision he thought would help him grow as a player, while he is said to be surprised that the quality in Ligue 1 is quite so inferior to La Liga. He wants a dressing room free of the tension at PSG and was 'blinded' by economic power.
Neymar is said to be targeting a return in 2019, but this story is immensely complicated. Wounds from his summer exit are still fresh at Camp Nou and each side is currently suing the other in a fraught legal battle over unpaid bonuses and claims for damages.
Barça, who have spent €305m on Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho since Neymar's exit, are said to not currently be interested in re-signing him. And MD notes that there is a possibility his apparent desperation to return is a charade to justify a future move to Real Madrid.
For, at the same time, AS has reported that Neymar's father and two lawyers recently met with representatives from Los Blancos in Paris with the intention of 'exploring the signing'. It was then that Real were informed that €400m, another world record fee, would prompt a sale.
Being publicly rejected by Barça might just be the perfect cover to join Real instead.