The father of Barcelona star Neymar has dismissed speculation linking the Brazilian forward with a possible move to Real Madrid, although he has confirmed there was genuine interest from Manchester United last summer.
As reported by Sport, Los Blancos president Florentino Perez is a long-term admirer of Neymar and hasn’t completely given up hope of signing him, even though he plays for Madrid’s bitter rivals.
However, Neymar Sr., who also acts as the player’s representative, says he wouldn’t push his son to move to the capital, even though he’d likely be very well paid, per ESPN Brazil (h/t Sport):
Neymar has his own life—I can’t force him go to Real Madrid. He’s creating his own history and he’s happy with his life. I can’t put that at risk, he is my son and my client. I have to think about his happiness and not just money. …
His future is here, where he has three more years on his contract. The only offer [to sign him] was rejected by Barca—that was from Manchester United, but [Neymar] wants to stay.
It’d be pretty remarkable if Real were to ensnare Neymar from the Camp Nou. While Barcelona would naturally be reluctant to sell, Los Blancos boast the financial might to potentially meet his €190 million (£137 million) release clause and pay him a hugely lucrative salary.
It’s a move which has been made before too, with a player who was equally as high-profile as Neymar. Luis Figo traded the iconic Blaugrana jersey for the all-white strip of Real back in 2000 after the capital club triggered a release clause in his contract which equated to a world-record transfer fee.
However, any Madridistas holding out hope for a similar switch 16 years on from that remarkable transfer are likely to be disappointed. As we can see here, Neymar is really enjoying his football at Barcelona for the time being:
Although some have professed Neymar may never be the main man at the Camp Nou, a status which Lionel Messi is the current and longstanding incumbent of, there are signs he’ll be this team’s talisman sooner rather than later. This year, especially, the Brazilian has really got a grip of games for Barcelona.
As a result of his increased willingness to take responsibility and deliver decisive contributions, Neymar has totted up some pretty impressive numbers this year, per Squawka Football:
United’s interest was certainly intriguing during the summer months, but Louis van Gaal’s side seem a long way off challenging for major honours at the moment.
They were eliminated in the Champions League group stages on Tuesday, and although they’re three points off the summit of the Premier League, they currently play a style of football which would inhibit Neymar’s quality.
The Brazilian, you suspect, would be in no rush to force through a move to Old Trafford. Indeed, former Red Devils player Danny Higginbotham feels even the finest forwards in the world would struggle for goals at United at the moment:
So you’d understand Neymar committing his future to the Blaugrana and wanting to stay for many years to come.
At the moment, he’s playing alongside two of the best strikers in world football, scoring goals and winning trophies. Of course, he will want to become the finest player on the planet, but is that really worth sacrificing all the aforementioned for?
Football is about winning things, after all, and Neymar has a chance to fill his boots at Barcelona.
Real and United would be enriched with the Brazilian in the side, but even if they were to acquire him, they’d be some way off reaching the levels this Blaugrana side has scaled over the past 12 months.