To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders
Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications
Featured Image Credit: AS
Pictures have emerged of Neymar from his trial with Real Madrid as a youngster, revealing just how close the Brazilian came to joining Barcelona’s bitter rivals.
Back in 2006, Neymar travelled to the Spanish capital for a trial with Madrid at the age of 14 – three years before he made his senior debut for Brazilian club Santos.
Madrid are said to have offered Neymar a long-term deal but he instead chose to remain with Santos on the advice of his father.
He would go on to make his first-team debut for the Brazilian club in 2009 before joining Barcelona in a £71m move in 2013.
Spanish outlet AS has now published a series of fascinating images from Neymar’s trial at Madrid.
One shows the skinny youngster posing in a Madrid shirt, while another has him smiling for the camera alongside his father on the pitch at the Bernabeu.
Neymar’s registration form at Madrid also features in the set of pictures.
According to Spanish publication Marca, Madrid’s coaches were impressed with Neymar and had hoped to sign him to their youth set-up, where he would have played alongside the likes of Dani Carvajal and Pablo Sarabia.
However, he would turn down a move to the Bernabeu to remain with Santos, after the Brazilian club gave his family an apartment near to their training ground.
He would later join Madrid’s rivals Barcelona in 2013 and would go on to score 105 goals in 186 appearances for the club, winning two La Liga titles and the Champions League during his time at the Nou Camp.
Neymar would become the most expensive player in history in 2017 when left Barcelona to join Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth £198m.
It could have been a very different story for the Brazilian, had he joined Madrid earlier in his career.
A former Real coach who worked with Neymar during his trial has revealed just how close the Brazilian came to joining.
"I went to the dressing room to welcome the kid, like we did with anyone," the unnamed coach told Marca.
"I found a small and skinny kid with shaved hair. The first thing that caught my attention was the fact he was so small and skinny, but then we saw there was a footballer of the top level.
“When he first had contact with the ball, we realised his quality. Everybody was aware that he was a very interesting player for the club for the future.
"I think Real Madrid made him a very good offer. They say that his father received that offer and told those in Brazil, saying 'I'm here at the Bernabeu and they've offered these conditions, so we'll talk and try to improve them'.
"I also know, because this came out afterwards, that when the president of Santos got worried about losing Neymar he spoke to the father and there was a promise for Neymar to return and for them to provide the family with an apartment."