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Football Reporting
Football Reporting


Neymar’s former agent lifts lid on Chelsea and Real Madrid transfer talks

Neymar Jr nearly signed for Chelsea in 2010, the Brazilian superstar’s former agent has revealed.

And his move to Paris-Saint Germain came about after contract negotiations for a current Tottenham player.

Wagner Ribeiro brokered the deal that saw Neymar move from Santos to Barcelona for £48m in 2013.

PSG then broke the transfer world record by paying £199m for the Brazilian in 2017.

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But Ribeiro has revealed that the star could have joined the Stamford Bridge club 11 years ago.

“We were in New York before his first international appearance (against the USA).,” claimed the Brazilian super agent. “We met the representatives of Chelsea. They wanted him, they offered lots of money but Neymar didn’t want to go there.

Neymar Jr moved from Barcelona to PSG for a world record £199m in 2017

“He had been on trial at Real Madrid when he was 13. Everyone wanted him at Real Madrid and they were ready to pay a lot for him. But he didn’t want to be a long way from his mother and his sister.”

By 2012, both Real Madrid and Barcelona wanted to sign the young Brazilian phenomenon and Real €40m. “But Neymar didn’t want to go to Madrid – he wanted to play for Barca,” his former agent continued. Messi phoned him, Pique too. They put pressure on him. And he wanted to play with Messi. It was his choice.”

Ribeiro also said that his move to Paris started during contract talks for another Brazilian client – Spurs forward Lucas Moura.

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Neymar Jr signed for Barcelona after getting called by Lionel Messi

“I said to Olivier Letang (PSG’s then sporting director) that they needed him to complete their dream team,” he told L’Equipe.. Olivier came twice to Sao Paulo. Then Nasser al-Khelaifi (PSG president) made him a magnificent offer. Neymar was earning €11m a year at Barca. He offered him €26m. I asked for €40m.

“He said he could give a part in the form of a chain of hotels in his name – from which he would have earned a percentage – and he was going to give him a private jet to fly between Europe and Brazil and put his name on the Eiffel Tower. It was crazy.”

Instead Neymar secured a pay rise to €28m a year at Barcelona before leaving two years later. “He could not refuse,” added Ribeiro. “PSG paid €222m to Bara and offered him a salary of €36m a year. It was impossible to refuse such an offer.”

Neymar, now 29, is under contract at PSG until 2022 and talks have started over an extension. Barcelona tried to buy him back in 2019 but Ribeiro, who no longer has the superstar on his books, claimed: “No other club in the world can offer him what PSG is offering him. Only PSG can pay for Neymar. Real Madrid have financial problems. Barca? Even worse. Italy? No club can compete. Manchester United or Manchester City? I don’t believe it.

“In Paris, he earns really well and plays in a very good team. This season they are going to win the Champions League and Neymar will win the Ballon D’Or. You will see.”

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