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Brazil star Neymar was highly sought after while he was still a youngster with Brazilian side Santos.
A number of top clubs in Europe were after Neymar at the time, with Chelsea, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Barcelona all linked with Neymar, but it was Barcelona who eventually won the deal for Neymar in 2013.
Neymar’s former agent, Wagner Ribeiro has revealed how close Neymar was to joining Chelsea in 2010.
“There were many calls for him. I received an official offer from Chelsea the day Neymar debuted with the Brazilian team in 2010,” Ribiero told Spanish outlet AS.
“They made an offer, we studied it, but in the end we didn’t decide anything. ‘On that occasion, we transferred it to Neymar’s father and the player himself.
“Then came other offers from Bayern Munich and Juventus, with whom I had a meeting in Turin.”
After sealing a stunning move to Barcelona, Neymar formed part of one of the most feared attacks in world football alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez as they were famously called MSN, before he left to join Paris Saint-Germain in a stunning €222million transfer four seasons into his spell at the Nou Camp.
In 2014, Neymar revealed how staying back at Santos for three extra seasons was the right decision for him to make.
“It was August 23, 2010. My father and I had a meeting with president Luis Alvaro at the Santos headquarters inside the Vila Belmiro. Chelsea had made a huge transfer bid,” the Brazil international wrote in his autobiography ‘Neymar: My Story – Conversations With My Father’.
“In the middle of our conversation, the president turned off the lights and pointed at an empty chair. ‘This is the chair of the great national sports hero. Since Ayrton Senna’s death, this chair is vacant. If Neymar Jr stays in Santos and refuses Chelsea’s proposal, he will give his first step to sit in this chair.’
“That made us think. That decision would be a turning point in my life. Even Pele called me. Can you imagine how important I felt? The King of Football called me and asked me to stay.
“He reminded me of his entire career with Santos, his five world titles with the national team and the club, and all the recognition he received.
“It wasn’t easy but it was the right decision for us. We did the right thing for our friends and my career.”