The father of Brazilian icon Neymar has admitted he was surprised to see his son depart Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain, but he said the player could not resist the challenge to move to the Ligue 1 giants.
Speaking to French TV show Telefoot (h/t Mark Rodden of ESPN), Neymar Sr. said:
"We had an offer last year but we didn't reach an agreement. This time PSG's offer was very interesting. The idea of winning the Champions League and the league pleased him.
"The truth is that it was me who hesitated until the last moment. I said to Neymar that 'you're relaxed, you're in your comfort zone at Barcelona. So the best choice for you is to stay.' But he wanted to get out of [his comfort zone] and put himself in danger.
"His friends [Lionel] Messi, [Luis] Suarez, [Ivan] Rakitic and [Gerard] Pique all tried to hold on to him. It was very difficult but Neymar really wanted to come. He wanted this challenge and we supported him."
Neymar Sr. added his son has not arrived in Paris solely to win the Ballon d'Or but was tempted by the project at the club and life in the French capital.
The 25-year-old already has eight goals and provided seven assists in only eight appearances in Ligue 1 and the UEFA Champions League since joining from Barca in the summer, according to WhoScored.com.
The standard of the French league is below the level of Spain, and Neymar can expect to score plenty of goals during his stay with Les Parisiens.
In other PSG news, Angel Di Maria is ready to leave the club in January after the team attempted to sell him to Barca in the summer.
According to French newspaper L’Equipe (h/t Joe Short of the Daily Express), the Argentina international is prepared for a quick departure after losing his automatic starting place. The arrival of Kylian Mbappe has squeezed PSG's attacking positions, leaving Di Maria on the bench.
Per L'Equipe, a friend of Di Maria said: "Angel is fine in Paris, but he has not forgotten that the club wanted to do without him. (Unai) Emery has him and plans to use him in the middle of the field (instead of his favoured wide position)."
According to Short, PSG quoted Barca a price of £50 million on transfer deadline day for Di Maria, but the Catalans decided against the purchase.
Di Maria remains one of the greatest creators in the European game, but his failure at Manchester United and PSG expose the limitations of the player.
Neither club could rush towards success with the winger pulling the strings, and top sides could be put off by his history.
At 29, the Argentinian is passing through his prime, and he might have to take a step down to a lesser side if he wants guaranteed first-team football.