Photo: Reuters

Many fans of Chelsea Football Club might not know that Chelsea tried twice to sign Neymar before the Brazilian joined Barcelona in 2013.

According to a report in The Guardian, Chelsea tried to sign Neymar, first in August 2010 and then in 2013 before the second coming of Jose Mourinho as Chelsea boss.

Chelsea reportedly offered €35 million to Santos in August 2010 to sign Neymar but Santos president Luis Álvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro rejected the deal because he was reportedly angered by Chelsea’s push to sign Neymar immediately.

Below is a report in The Guardian revealing Chelsea’s attempt to sign Neymar in 2010.

In August 2010 Neymar made his debut for Brazil in a friendly against the USA. On the same day, Chelsea made an offer to sign him. ‘We had a meeting in the Hilton Hotel on Lexington Avenue in New York,’ Motta (a football lawyer) said.

Seated in the lobby were Neymar’s father, Ribeiro, Pini Zahavi, the Israeli dealmaker who knew Abramovich, a delegation from Chelsea and Luis Álvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro, the newly elected Santos president. Luis Álvaro ended the conversation quickly. He rejected the €35m being offered by the Premier League team. While he tried to appear calm, he was spooked by Chelsea’s push to sign Neymar immediately. He phoned officials back in Brazil to prepare a special career-plan programme designed to keep Neymar at the club for as long as possible. The plan included giving him English and Spanish lessons, specialist physical preparation and hiring him a wealth-management team.”

The report in The Guardian also claimed Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo tried to sign the Brazilian again in 2013 just before the return of then-Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho. Below is a report in The Guardian detailing Emenalo’s meeting with Neymar’s father.

Photo: Getty Images

Michael Emenalo, Chelsea’s director of football, flew to Santos to try again. He met Neymar and proceeded to deliver one of the best sales pitches Motta had ever heard. ‘It was the very first time that I saw Neymar’s father listen to someone for more than 30 minutes without looking at his mobile,’ Motta said.

Emenalo told the story of the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan. How Chicago was not a big team, but together they evolved into international icons. Neymar could become Chelsea’s Michael Jordan, Emenalo said. José Mourinho was about to return to the club as manager and he wants to sign you, the Nigerian added. ‘You are going to lead Chelsea to the top.’”

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