Manchester United ended their pre-season tour of the United States with defeat by Barcelona – a game that manager Jose Mourinho said “was important to lose”.
Neymar, who has been linked heavily with a move to Paris St-Germain, scored the only goal of the International Champions Cup contest in Washington to consign United to their first pre-season defeat.
The French club have reportedly met the Brazilian’s 222m euro (£199m) release clause but the 25-year-old played 45 minutes, capitalising on a mistake by Antonio Valencia to score in the 31st minute.
Barcelona would have been out of sight in the first half but for a string of fine saves from United goalkeeper David de Gea.
“I think it would be very bad for us to leave the US without a defeat,” said Mourinho. “Playing against teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City – it would be very bad to go home with just victories.”
Manchester United now face Norwegian side Valerenga on Sunday before playing Italians Sampdoria in their final pre-season match in Dublin on Wednesday.
They meet Real Madrid in the Uefa Super Cup on 8 August.