Neymar lifts lid on decision to turn down move to Chelsea

Neymar explains how the Brazil star feels he made the "right choice" in turning down a move to Chelsea in 2010

Brazil duo Neymar and Dani Alves Photo: Neymar/Instagram

Neymar has revealed how a phone call from Pele helped to convince him to turn down a transfer to Chelsea in 2010.

The Brazil star insisted that his decision to stay at Santos and not move to Stamford Bridge was the right one and proved to be a “turning point” in his life.

Neymar, who joined Barcelona in a £49m deal last summer, wrote in his autobiography, which is currently being serialised in the Daily Mail: “It was August 23, 2010.

It wasn’t easy but it was the right decision for us

Neymar

“My father and I had a meeting with president Luis Álvaro at the Santos headquarters, inside the Vila Belmiro. Chelsea had made a huge transfer bid. In the middle of our conversation, the president turned off the lights and pointed at an empty chair.

“‘This is the chair of the great national sports hero. Since Ayrton Senna’s death, this chair is vacant. If Neymar Jr stays in Santos and refuses Chelsea’s proposal, he will give his first step to sit in this chair.’

“That made us think. That decision would be a turning point in my life. Even Pele called me. Can you imagine how important I felt? The King of Football called and asked me to stay.

“He reminded me of his entire career with Santos, his five world titles with the national team and the club, and all the recognition he received.

“It wasn’t easy but it was the right decision for us. We did the right thing for our family, friends and my career.”

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