Barcelona president suggested he has no qualms regarding Neymar joining arch rivals Real Madrid.
Neymar moved to Paris Saint Germain for a world-record fee of 222 million Euros from the Catalan club and Real Madrid are a club who has been interested in the Brazilian star even before he moved to Spain to play for Barca.
Speaking to RAC, Barca president Josep Bartomeu said: “He can do what he wants. If he goes to Madrid, we’ll play against him. We were surprised how he left. The day he said it was done, it had already been done for some time.”
A Marca report had suggested that Neymar would be happy to play alongside Madrid superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and the Los Blancos’ directors are evaluating the signing of Neymar.
It seems that Bartomeu was not the only one to be caught off-guard at the manner in which Neymar left. Former Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro, who died in 2016, left a posthumous note, recalling his disgust at the way Neymar and his father had courted Barcelona’s interest.
The letter, which was written on March 15, 2016, has been published in the newspaper ‘Folha de Pernambuco.’
There were rumours that Barcelona had paid Neymar’s entourage 10 million Euros and signed a precontract with the Brazilian.
Santos’s president recalled in his letter, how Neymar played the final while he had already committed to Barcelona and received payment during the Club World Cup final against the Catalans in 2011 at Japan’s Yokohoma.
“Santos and I personally never received any information or document about the fact that before the end of the Club World Cup, Mr. Neymar, father of the player, had already committed his son to Barcelona and had received payments,” commented the late former president.
“Santos played that final with a player who had received money from his rival, which influenced the performance of Neymar Junior thereafter at Santos.
“He was not the same playful player, who was superior to the rivals. I said that to the press and, unfortunately, it is a fact. His contract with Santos was in force and he had a duty to comply obligatorily,” the letter read.
Neymar eventually moved to Barcelona in 2013 for a reported transfer fee of 57.1 million Euros. The Catalan club would later go to court over ‘misappropriation of funds’ over which their then president Sandro Rosell resigned. Madrid and their lawyers must be ready if they do want the Brazilian in their ranks.