Skip to main content

I wanted Neymar at Real Madrid, says ex-agent Ribeiro

Neymar should have joined Real Madrid rather than Barcelona, according to his former agent Wagner Ribeiro.

Ribeiro explained the Brazil international opted to join Barca in 2013 because they were "the team of his heart", even though Madrid presented him with a more lucrative offer, with Premier League side Chelsea also in the mix.

His preference would have been for Neymar to move to Madrid rather than make the switch to Camp Nou, a controversial transfer which produced legal proceedings over the payment structure in the deal.

Life on the pitch has worked out well, though, for the 25-year-old, who has won two LaLiga titles and the Champions League among eight trophies in his four years with the club.

"I sent offers from Chelsea and Real Madrid to Santos," Ribeiro said to UOL in Brazil.

"The one from Barcelona went directly to the father. I wanted him to go to Madrid, I always said it.

"Economically, it was a better offer for Santos and even better for the player. But he decided to go to Barcelona because they were the team of his heart."

Ribeiro, who has also managed the likes of Robinho, Lucas Moura and Gabriel Barbosa, retains a close relationship with Neymar.

He added: "I was his agent from the age of 12 and got him two contracts with Santos, but when he grew up, his father took control of everything through his companies. He [Neymar Sr] is a very competent professional in what he does.

"But it is true I still work with his father, we are always together. Neymar is like a son to me and his father is trustworthy, I like and respect him."