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Chelsea Once Nearly Signed Neymar, Made Huge "Michael Jordan" Promise

James Hilsum

| Last updated 

Chelsea Once Nearly Signed Neymar, Made Huge "Michael Jordan" Promise

Chelsea were reportedly close to signing Neymar when an impassioned speech from their then director of football compared the footballer to a basketball icon.

The Blues almost brought Neymar to Stamford Bridge after their former director of football, Michael Emenalo claimed that the Brazilian's profile would be elevated onto a similar level to Michael Jordan if he moved to west London.

This speech caught the attention of Neymar's father, Neymar Santos Snr, according to football lawyer Marcos Motta in quotes published by The Guardian.

"It was the first time that I saw Neymar's father listen to someone for more than 30 minutes without looking at his mobile," he explained.

PA: Michael Emenalo
PA: Michael Emenalo

The Nigerian's speech to Neymar was an attempt to rescue the bid to bring Neymar to England, with The Sun reporting that an initial meeting in New York between Chelsea officials, agent Pini Zahavi and Santos president, Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro had not gone well.

Santos were put off by Chelsea's eagerness to sign Neymar immediately, which prompted Real Madrid to declare their interest and submit a £38 million bid.

PA: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar
PA: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar

But despite both clubs' interest, Neymar had his heart set on a move to Barcelona and he signed a deal which saw him move to the Catalan club in 2013.

He enjoyed an incredibly successful spell with Barça, scoring 105 goals in 186 appearances for the club across all competitions between 2013 and 2017.

Neymar won two La Liga titles, three Spanish Cups, one Spanish Super Cup, the Champions League and the Club World Cup at the Camp Nou, before moving to Paris Saint Germain for a world record fee in the region of £200 million.

The 29-year-old has also made a big impact in France after scoring 88 goals in 123 appearances to date for PSG, winning three French titles, three French Cups and two French League Cups during his time in Paris.

Topics: Chelsea, Barcelona, Neymar, Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid

James Hilsum
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