Florentino Perez has confirmed that Real Madrid made a bid for Neymar before he joined Barcelona.
Neymar left Santos to sign for Barcelona in 2013 in a deal that has proved to be hugely controversial. The Catalan club insist the move cost just under £50m but Brazilian company DIS, which owned 40% of the player’s sporting rights when he was at Santos, claim the money paid was over £20m more than that. DIS claim that Neymar, Santos and Barcelona all colluded to hide the full cost of the deal.
The matter has now gone to court, and Real Madrid president Perez was called to the stand to give evidence in the proceedings.
In his statement, he confirmed that his club tried to sign Neymar in 2011 and that he knows little about what rights DIS had over the player.
“I don’t know Neymar, I’ve never spoken to him on a personal level. We were interested in signing Neymar about 10 years ago. In 2011, Real Madrid made Santos an offer for Neymar. I believe it was €45m. It’s written in the summary,” he said.
“Players go where they want to go. I think Neymar wanted to go to Barcelona and that’s why he went to Barcelona. The offer in 2011 was €45m, not €60m.
“I don’t know or remember if DIS had any rights to Neymar. I remember they sent us a letter… I don’t remember anything at all. We have provided all documentation to the abstract. I was not involved in anything. I guess we didn’t respond to the DIS letter because we had nothing to say.
“We did not play a very active role in this negotiation. I have been at Real Madrid for 18 years and all the offers we have made to players have been transparent. All these questions at Real Madrid are dealt with by the sports management. I don’t know anything about what you’re telling me.”