Brazilian superstar Neymar's transfer to Barcelona from Santos in 2013 has been embroiled in controversy in recent years, especially after the 25-year-old forward was reportedly accused of concealing at least £22million of his transfer fee.
The deal still remains under investigation, however, Wagner Ribeiro, a football agent with one of the best reputations in world football, confessed in an interview with Brazilian media UOL that his priority was to push Neymar's move to arch-rivals Real Madrid. Ribeiro, who was surrounded by controversies after separating with the Barcelona star, claimed that Real's offer was economically better but the player ended up signing for the team of his heart.
"I took offers to Santos from Chelsea and Real Madrid. Barcelona's was directly from his father. I wanted him to go to Madrid, I have always said that. It was a better offer financially for Santos and even for the player. But he decided to go to Barcelona because it was the team of his heart," said Ribeiro.
Ribeiro was Neymar's agent before the forward's father took the matter into his own hands for his son. "I was his agent from the age of 12 and I managed to get two contracts with Santos. But when he grew up his father took control through his companies."
Despite the breakdown in a professional aspect of the relationship, Ribeiro says his relationship with the family remains good. "Neymar is like a son to me. And I get on well with father, I respect him."
Since joining Barcelona, the Brazilian forward came third on the FIFA Ballon d'Or list in 2015 and has formed a formidable partnership alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez and has netted 68 goals in 123 appearances.
Published Date: Jul 15, 2017 18:09 PM | Updated Date: Jul 15, 2017 18:34 PM