Barcelona president Sandro Rosell has claimed that Real Madrid were trying to hijack his club’s signing of Neymar even as the player was putting pen to paper for the Catalans.
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Madrid had long been involved in a battle for Neymar’s signature, but Blancos president Florentino Perez said the club abandoned their pursuit because "for us it would have cost more than €150 million".
However, Rosell insists Barca’s rivals continued their pursuit until the bitter end and also claims that the Brazil star had even privately passed a medical for Madrid prior to signing on the dotted line at Camp Nou.
"When we reached a pre-agreement with Neymar’s father, the player had already passed a medical with Real Madrid," Rosell told TV3’s ‘Hat-trick’ programme. "We joked that we could save ourselves the money of doing the tests ourselves. When we were already signing the contract, Madrid was sending emails to Santos.”
The complex deal which was agreed between Barcelona, Santos and Neymar’s father -- who is also his agent -- continues to be the subject of controversy in Brazil, where various other stakeholders have complained that they are not receiving their fair share of the €57 million total fee.
Rosell said Barca were not involved in talks over which parties were owed how much from the deal.
"The investment fund which is claiming money from [Neymar’s] transfer is talking with Santos and the player’s father," he said. “We are staying out of it."
The Camp Nou chief said that reports last week that Barca had not paid Eric Abidal when the French defender had been ill were mistaken.
"Barcelona has paid Abidal everything he was supposed to earn," Rosell said. "Although the doctors said he would not return to play, we extended his contract and he received everything. The contract was suspended due to an agreement with the medical insurers. He himself has recognised that his words were not interpreted well."