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Father: 'Real Madrid were interested in Neymar'

Father: 'Real Madrid interested in Neymar'
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The father of Barcelona forward Neymar reveals that Real Madrid were interested in poaching the Brazilian from their arch rivals before he signed a new deal last month.

Neymar's father has claimed that Real Madrid were interested in signing the Brazilian from arch rivals Barcelona before he agreed a new contract last month.

The 24-year-old recently committed his future to the Spanish champions by signing a new five-year deal that will keep him at Camp Nou until 2021.

However, the forward's father has claimed that Madrid were looking at a sensational swoop before Neymar decided to remain with Luis Enrique's side.

"Madrid were interested through intermediaries. I always said the same thing to everyone: if Neymar leaves Barca, you have to pay the €190m [£181m] release clause, plus the taxes on that money. And with everything else, it would end up being €430m [£374m]," Neymar Sr told Mundo Deportivo.

"I had a lot of people in my office in Brazil: sponsors, people keen to support the Neymar Institute ... and of course, some people come to know if Neymar has a future at another club. But I'm very clear on this: To get him away from Barcelona, you have to try to take away the happiness that he has here. If he wanted to chase financial benefits, everyone knows he would not be at Barca. But Neymar is happy where he is and has made some strong friendships.

"Neymar never had any doubts about staying. The only doubts there could have been were on my part, as a businessman and his representative, but I didn't have any doubts, either, because I know him and I know he's really happy here. As much as I want to be a successful businessman and make money, what interests me more is my son's happiness."

Neymar's new deal includes a buyout clause of £181m for the first year, £200m for the second year and £226m for the remaining three years.

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God-fearing Neymar celebrates the eighth during the La Liga game between Deportivo La Coruna and Barcelona on April 20, 2016
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