A former Real Madrid coach has revealed how Neymar’s planned transfer to the club in 2006 fell apart despite a successful trial.
A 14-year-old Neymar arrived at Real Madrid in 2006 for a trial training session with the youth team. They later invited him to watch a first-team game from the president’s box at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Despite his small stature, the Brazilian impressed Real coaches and looked set to remain. However, a deal didn’t materialise and the then-teenager returned to his boyhood club Santos instead.
Seven years later, Neymar sealed an €88m transfer to Los Blancos’ big rivals Barcelona. He went on to enjoy a goal and trophy-laden four seasons at Camp Nou before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain.
Nowadays, though, Real are seemingly in pole position to sign the 27-year-old this summer.
And now one of the club’s old coaches, who wasn’t named, has explained how Neymar didn’t up in a Los Blancos jersey in the first place.
“I went to the dressing room to welcome the kid, like we did with anyone,” said the coach via Marca.
“I found a small and skinny kid with shaved hair.
“The first thing that caught my attention was the fact he was so small and skinny, but then we saw there was a footballer of the top level.
“When he first had contact with the ball, we realised his quality.
“Everybody was aware that he was a very interesting player for the club for the future.
“I think Real Madrid made him a very good offer.
“They say that his father received that offer and told those in Brazil, saying ‘I’m here at the Bernabeu and they’ve offered these conditions, so we’ll talk and try to improve them’.
“I also know, because this came out afterwards, that when the president of Santos got worried about losing Neymar he spoke to the father and there was a promise for Neymar to return and for them to provide the family with an apartment.”