Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has confirmed that Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola had wanted to bring Neymar to the club.
The Bayern chief executive told Sport Bild that club officials had instead decided to opt for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Mario Gotze after the difficulties experienced by some previous signings from South America.
Neymar, 21, went on to join Barcelona after Guardiola was persuaded that Gotze would be the right kind of signing for the Treble winners.
“We had a clear vision of what kind of player we wanted to buy,” Rummenigge said. “We discussed that matter with Pep [at a meeting in Zurich].
“Really, there were only two players of that quality of whom we knew signing them was possible - Neymar and Mario Gotze.
“We then told Guardiola about our experiences with players coming directly from South America.”
Rummenigge explained that the weather on the day of the talks had been “a catastrophe”. He said: “I told Pep to look out of the window. He asked: ‘Why’s that?’ And I answered: ‘Imagine a Brazilian departing from home with temperatures of 30 degrees, and then he arrives here with temperatures six below zero'.”
Rummenigge revealed that Bayern had also harboured concerns about the language and cultural differences Neymar would have to confront, saying: “That’s not too easy for a young player.”
Meanwhile, copies of transfer documents from Santos football club, obtained by Brazilian media site Globoesporte, reveal that Barcelona paid €17.1 million for Neymar in what was an overall €57 million deal.
Of that, €9 million went to Santos, €7 million to investment company DIS Esporte and €1 million on taxes. The remaining €40.1 million, in the overall €57 million deal, was paid to Neymar and his father - also his agent - as "commission" and a signing-on fee.
The documents also show that Barcelona agreed to pay €2 million if Neymar finished among the top three finalists for the Ballon d’Or award. They also arranged to play two friendlies with Santos.
Last month, one of Neymar's former investors threatened to go to the Brazilian courts to get money he claimed to be owed from the player's transfer, amid confusion over the sums due to each of the various stakeholders in the deal.