Former PSG boss and Sporting director Leonardo has revealed that the club tried to sign Neymar even before Barcelona did.
The former PSG player revealed in a recent interview that the Parisians had been keen on signing Neymar back in 2011. However, the player remained at Santos and eventually moved to Barcelona in 2013.
After spending 4 years with the club, the Brazilian superstar made the big move to PSG, making him the most expensive player of all time at £200 million.
Neymar interest was strong at PSG
Speaking to French media outlet Canal Plus, Leonardo spoke about how strong PSG’s interest was in signing the Santos forward. This was a time where the club were transitioning into a new phase. The new owner Nasser Al Khelaifi had significantly strengthened the team with signings like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva among others.
Leonardo said, “We spoke with Neymar in 2011.”
“He was already someone that we saw getting to the level that he is at today, but the plan was for him to stay in Brazil until 2014“.
???? "On a essayé de faire venir #Neymar en 2011"
— Canal Football Club (@CanalFootClub) October 30, 2017
However, PSG were made to wait for the transfer to happen. Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona threw him into the spotlight and he shone like a superstar. The Parisian club finally got their target this past summer with a big fee and they’re now reaping the benefits of his transfer.
Leonardo, who now manages Turkey’s Super Lig club Anatalyaspor is pleased with the former Santos starlet’s progress. He said,“It’s great because we’re talking about a charismatic player, a very good player and one who is a bit of a movie star.”
He further spoke about how difficult it is to manage such a situation. “Managing all of that is very important. The club must remain the strongest regardless of whether you are dealing with Neymar or Cristiano Ronaldo. The club must be respected as an institution and it is the club who will guide the project, not Neymar.”, Leonardo said.
It would certainly have been interesting if PSG had signed Neymar back in 2011. However, he might not have grown into the world-beater that he is today.With 10 goals and 8 assists so far for the club in 11 appearances, it doesn’t look as though Neymar is going to stop justifying every pound of that world-record transfer fee.