A report in the Spanish press surfaced this week alleging that Barcelona forward Neymar and his father, who acts as his representative, had a meeting with representatives of Real Madrid earlier this month.
According to the report on the program ‘Al Primer Toque,’ on Spanish station Onda Cero, the meeting took place in a Zurich hotel room on January 11th during the Ballon d’Or celebrations. In addition to the player and his father, reports allege Neymar’s agent Wagner Ribeiro was present along with an unnamed Real Madrid representative.
A separate report in Marca states that Real Madrid president Florentino Perez is ready to pay the 190 million euros necessary to activate Neymar’s buy-out clause. Marca also speculates that the Brazilian’s arrival would likely trigger the departure of a member of Real Madrid’s BBC: Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema, or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Ronaldo and Bale have both been linked with possible moves to Manchester United, while Benzema has been an on-again, off-again transfer target for Arsenal.
After a couple of up-and-down seasons in Spain, Neymar has emerged as one of Barcelona and world football’s leading lights in the past 12-16 months. He was named one of the finalists for this year’s Ballon d’Or, losing out to his Barça teammate, Lionel Messi.
Neymar’s father, however, has since denied any meeting with Real Madrid took place.
“The meeting in Madrid is an invention, silly,” Neymar Sr. told Mundo Sportivo. “We were all together in the same hotel, the Barça directors and Madrid directors, and we greeted everyone, but the meeting is an invention.“
With Neymar’s contract negotiations with the Blaugrana having reportedly stalled, there is also some speculation that the whole affair could be a leveraging tactic of sorts.
In the meantime, Neymar will be back in action with Barcelona this weekend when Barcelona travel to the Estadio La Rosaleda to face Malaga.