REAL MADRID are ‘monitoring’ Barcelona’s pursuit of Neymar this summer.
That’s according to journalist Duncan Castles, who claims Real president Florentino Perez regrets not signing the Brazilian when he was at Santos.
Neymar is likely to depart Paris St-Germain in the summer transfer window after Leandro, the French club’s sporting director, admitted they will sell their star man for the right price following his no-show at training on Monday.
It is believed the 27-year-old is targeting a return to Barca, where he clinched two La Liga titles and the Champions League before leaving for France in a world-record £200m deal back in 2017.
However, Castles insists Real president Perez also has a desire to sign Neymar because ‘it’s almost the forbidden fruit for him’.
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“I think for sure from Florentino Perez’s perspective, there’s still a desire to have Neymar at Real Madrid”
“We talked about Neymar’s plan to get out of Paris St-Germain and get back to La Liga as early as February,” he said on The Transfer Window podcast.
“And at the time, the briefing I had was that Madrid were the more likely buyers and that Neymar was very much encouraging them in that pursuit.
“Obviously what has changed since then is Zidane has returned as coach and Zidane has prioritised Eden Hazard and Paul Pogba as his signings.
“I think for sure from Florentino Perez’s perspective, there’s still a desire to have Neymar at Real Madrid.”
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“I think a big part of it is it’s almost the forbidden fruit for him. It’s the player that he feels he should have signed when he was at Santos, the deal famously falling apart and him losing the player to Barcelona.
“He’s talked many times in a way that would encourage Neymar to come to Madrid. Talking after a Ballon d’Or ceremony, to the media saying that the player’s chances of winning the Ballon d’Or himself would be greatly improved if he became a Madrid player.
“There’s been work behind the scenes on that almost the entire time he’s been in European football, but it’s never actually come to fruition.
“So I think there will be an element of regret that he doesn’t have Neymar. I am told that they are carefully monitoring the situation with Barcelona, they’re aware that there are major financial difficulties involved in Barcelona taking both Griezmann and Neymar in one summer.
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“But also, I’ve been briefed that they have to be very careful in terms of anything they do with Neymar in the sense that they don’t want to be seen to be bidding at the same time as Barcelona are trying to bring him back.
“Because were they to be seen to bid and Neymar then choose to go to Barcelona for a second time when they go head-to-head with each other, as he did when he first came from Brazil, then that would be more embarrassing than anything else to the club.”
Real have already forked out around £270m this summer, with Eden Hazard joining on an initial £90m deal, Luka Jovic joining from Eintracht Frankfurt for £54m and Eder Militao completing a £45m switch from Porto.
Los Blancos have also wrapped up the signings of Ferland Mendy [£43m] and Rodrygo [£41m].
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