It’s time to tell you the story of how FC Barcelona passed on signing Federico Valverde when he was still a Peñarol player.
Federico Valverde is one of the most unexpected revelations of the season, we recently found out how FC Barcelona passed on signing him.
The Uruguay international is part of the long history that Peñarol has under its belt.
This is one of the two most popular and successful clubs in the country, alongside Nacional.
As part of a long list of illustrious names from his own country. Valverde is proving that he is worthy of the company with his first few months as a regular at Real Madrid.
But Los Blancos weren’t the only club that showed interest in the young midfielder.
There were at least three other major clubs in Europe that attempted to sign him in the past.
Peñarol vice president Rodolfo Catino, offered an interview to Diario AS and spoke about these clubs.
As it turns out, FC Barcelona actually refused to pay what the Uruguayan club was asking for Federico.
The two other clubs that were interested in this player are Arsenal and Manchester United.
But in the end, only Florentino Perez was capable of making the effort for this incredible player.
Now that we hear Catino speak in this manner about Valverde, we realize how important he is for Uruguay’s football future.
Arsenal was the first to ask for Valverde
“We are all living it with so much passion. Fede was only 10 years old when Nestor Gonçalves brought him to us,” said Catino to AS.
“He introduced me to him in a very educated manner by treating young Fede with a lot of respect and told me: ‘This is Mr. Valverde and he will be one of this country’s best players.'”
“From that moment forward, Fede got into the club’s youth academy and he kept progressing to become the phenomenal player we know today.”
“I believe Valverde will win the Ballon d’Or someday. He is one of the great players this land has given us, alongside Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan.”
“I don’t know if this year or the next one, but I’m sure he will win it because his game has an elegance that nobody else treasures.”
“He simply understands football and everything that comes with it. Arsenal was the first club that approached us to sign him.”
“They even invited him to know the facility when he was only 16. We agreed to send him there but we didn’t want him to play because we feared he could pick up an injury.”
“Arsenal kept insisting on watching him play and we agreed on a €6 million insurance in case anything bad happened to him.”
“It took them only a few months to fly to Montevideo and attempt his transfer.”
“We believe the offer was too low and we didn’t reach an agreement,” he added.
Along came Manchester United and Barcelona.
After the Gunners withdrew from the race, the Red Devils and the Blaugrana came after the kid.
But just as it happens with bidding wars like this one, Real Madrid was always lurking in the background.
Florentino Perez tends to do this quite often. When he sees that any club tries to make an effort for any player, he immediately makes inquiries about him.
With Valverde, Perez sent Juni Calafat to ask about Federico and the results of the investigation were extremely satisfactory for the president.
Real Madrid was the only club that didn’t hesitate to sign Valverde, and they got one of the world’s best midfielders as a reward.
As Catino told the story of how Los Blancos signed his player, he also revealed that he played in the same manner when he was a kid.
“United and Barça were the other two clubs that tried to sign him,” continued Catino.
“United withdrew quickly and Barcelona refused to pay what we asked for him.”
“They didn’t even come near to the number we wanted. They missed out on a great player for not making that effort.”
“Real Madrid bet heavily on him as soon as Barcelona refused to match our demands.”
“Juni Calafat saw something special in the kid. They paid €5 million, plus other variables that I cannot discuss,” he concluded.
What do you think about FC Barcelona passing on Federico Valverde’s transfer when he was at Peñarol? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.