Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has claimed Real Madrid attacker Vinicius Jr had agreed to move to the Camp Nou before sealing a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu.
Los Blancos confirmed in 2017 they had agreed a deal for the forward to move from Brazilian side Flamengo when he turned 18, but Pique says the youngster had previously agreed a deal with Barca, as reported by Diario AS.
“Vinicius had a lot of talent. Did you know that he was very close to joining Barça?” he said. “They offered Vinicius double what Madrid had offered. I spoke to him personally before he joined Madrid and during that phone call, he admitted that a deal was practically done with Barça. I can’t remember the details exactly. It was about introducing him to the lads. The deal was already done. He joined Madrid right at the last minute, they offered him everything
Vinicius has gone on to become a regular for Real Madrid and has started the current season in strong form, scoring five times and producing two assists in eight games for Los Blancos.
Pique and Barcelona are scheduled to meet Real Madrid in the first Clasico of the season in La Liga at the Camp Nou on Sunday, October 24. A win for the hosts would see Ronald Koeman’s side leapfrog their fierce rivals in the table.
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Pique Talks El Clasico
The Barcelona defender also spoke about matches against Real Madrid as he prepares to face his team’s biggest rivals yet again and is looking forward to having fans in attendance after playing the famous fixture in empty stadiums last season.
“El Clásico is special. It takes over the whole day. The country comes to a standstill. There is no better feeling that having 90,000 people back in the stands. Playing the Clásico behind closed doors was sad,” he added. “On Sunday, there won’t be any restrictions and we can play in front of all the fans… This season, the fans are behind us more than ever. When they are with us, it makes us feel unstoppable. Now we need them more than ever. It’s a real pleasure to have them back and especially for a game like this.”
Barca will hope a full Camp Nou can help inspire a victory which would provide a big boost after a difficult start to the campaign. The Catalans lost both fixtures against Los Blancos last season and three points would inspire confidence the team can challenge for the title under Ronald Koeman.
Champions League Up Next For Barca & Real Madrid
Both Barca and Real Madrid play Champions League fixtures before El Clasico, with the Catalans hosting Dynamo Kiev and Carlo Ancelotti’s side away at Shakhtar Donetsk.
Barca must win their match after consecutive defeats to Benfica and Bayern Munich and Pique admits they are in a tricky position in Group E.
“First, we have to make sure we beat Dinamo. Our situation in the Champions League is looking a bit delicate,” he said. “It might seem like the kind of game that you would expect to win. But they gave us problems before. I’m sure they’ll give us a tough game on Wednesday…”
Barca head into the match fresh from a morale-boosting 3-1 win over Valencia and armed with the knowledge they did beat Dynamo Kiev home and away last season in the Champions League.