The subject of Neymar's future at Barcelona has come under the microscope for much of 2016. That has been entirely thanks to reported interest from Real Madrid.
With the Brazilian emerging as one of the game's biggest stars, Florentino Perez was allegedly considering a bid that would meet his €190million release clause. Of course, he would still have to convince Neymar to make the controversial switch, which would undoubtedly make him the most hated figure in the whole of Catalonia.
But Barcelona fans can take solace from the news that, according to the player's father, Neymar Snr, he has already turned down the opportunity to leave the Nou Camp before.
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As reported by Marca, Neymar's father made the sensational claim that an unnamed club launched a world-record offer in the summer transfer window to the judge in Neymar's ongoing court case for corruption and fraud.
Neymar was appearing in court over his transfer from Santos to Barcelona in 2013, in which it is alleged that he and his representatives hid the true cost of the deal. Barcelona had claimed the original deal cost €57m while investigators say hidden fees took it closer to €83m.
His father, who also acts as his agent, started talking about interest from other clubs to argue his claim that Neymar would not necessarily spend his entire career at the Nou Camp. Indeed, having seen his release clause met, it seems he could have already left Spain. The judge soon interrupted him, claiming it was irrelevant, but not before he mentioned that offer.
While Real Madrid appear to be interested in Neymar now, it seems more likely that the offer came from Manchester United. As fans of the Red Devils remember, they were linked with a move for the forward in the final weeks of that same summer window.
Ed Woodward has been desperate to seal a huge name since succeeding David Gill and would relish the opportunity to break the world transfer record. The Guardian reported that Neymar had told Manchester United that he was open to joining them so there is every reason to assume the offer came from Old Trafford.
However, it seems as though the 23-year-old used interest from Manchester United as leverage in contract negotiations with Barcelona. He, evidently, never wanted to leave.
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