Neymar’s former agent has revealed the Brazilian would have signed for Real Madrid but was convinced to join Barcelona after a conversation with Lionel Messi.
Wagner Ribeiro, who represented Neymar when he joined the Catalans from Santos in 2013, says he wanted the forward to sign for Los Blancos but Messi had other ideas, as reported by Marca.
“Once Real Madrid were out of the running, Neymar had a conversation with Messi that was fundamental for him to sign for Barcelona,” he said. “I wanted him to go to Real Madrid, who sent him a contract to sign. That’s when that conversation with Messi happened and he decided to join Barcelona.”
Neymar subsequently joined the Catalans and went on to become part of the famous ‘MSN’ attacking trio with Messi and Luis Suarez. The Brazilian eventually left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.
Ribeiro’s revelation came in court where Neymar and eight others are facing fraud and corruption charges relating to the forward’s transfer from Brazilian side Santos. If found guilty Neymar could face time in jail as well as a hefty fine.
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Neymar Talks Dream Barcelona Transfer
Neymar has also spoken in court and insisted he did not participate in transfer negotiations with Barcelona. The Brazil international said his father took care of the move but admitted it was always his dream to play for Barcelona.
“I didn’t participate in the negotiations. My father always took care of it and always will. I sign everything he tells me to sign,” he told the court. “Playing for Barcelona was always my dream, a childhood dream.”
Neymar enjoyed huge success with Barca and his move to PSG, after the French side activated his release clause, shocked the football world. The Brazilian’s father has since admitted his son wanted to return Barca but a move could not be agreed.
Could Messi Return to Barcelona?
The chances of Neymar returning to Barcelona now are highly unlikely but speculation continues that Messi could come back to the club after his contract with PSG expires at the end of the season.
Barcelona president Joan Laporta has already said he does not believe Messi’s story with the club is over and he wants to put right the wrongs of the past, as reported by ESPN.
“Messi was everything. To Barca, he’s been possibly its greatest player, the most efficient. To me he’s only comparable to Johan Cruyff. But it had to happen one day. We had to make a decision as a consequence of what we inherited. The institution is in charge of players, coaches,” he said. “I would hope that the Messi chapter isn’t over. I think it’s our responsibility to try to … find a moment to fix that chapter, which is still open and hasn’t closed, so it turns out like it should have, and that it has a more beautiful ending.”
Messi has previously made it clear he would like to return at some point in the future to help the club out, but it remains to seen if he will ever play for the club again in his career.