Lionel Messi said he does not know if Barcelona did everything possible to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou as he appeared to take aim at the La Liga giant.
Neymar wanted to leave Paris Saint-Germain prior to the transfer deadline and was reportedly desperate for a Barca return, though a move did not materialise.
It came just two years after Neymar left Barca for Ligue 1 giant PSG in a world-record €222million deal.
Barca captain Messi was asked about the transfer pursuit and he told SPORT: "I don't know if Barca did everything possible for his return.
"But it is true that negotiating with PSG is not easy."
"I would have loved for Neymar to return," Messi added. "He is one of the best players in the world and at the image level and sponsors we would have taken a leap that would have given us stability."
Amid reports Messi and his team-mates asked for Barca to re-sign Neymar, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said: "In the locker room we never asked for Ney's signing.
"We gave our opinion, but it has become clear that despite what they say, I do not command."
Neymar – who has three years remaining on his PSG contract – is yet to feature for Thomas Tuchel's side this season.
The 27-year-old, however, made his first appearance of the campaign for Brazil during the international break.
Neymar made a goalscoring return in Brazil's 2-2 draw with Colombia last week, while he came off the bench in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Peru in Los Angeles.
PSG returns to Ligue 1 action at home to Strasbourg on Saturday, while Messi's Barcelona hosts Valencia on the same day.