On 26 March 2006, Real Madrid beat Deportivo La Coruña 4-0. Sitting in the directors’ box that day was a 14-year-old Brazilian who was on trial with the club’s academy. Three days later, that youngster went on to sign registration forms with Real Madrid’s youth set-up. That kid was Neymar da Silva Santos Junior – now a Barcelona player.
Madrid processed Neymar’s registration at the Madrid Football Federation on 30 March 2006. AS has gained access to the document that shows Neymar once belonged to Real Madrid. The Brazilian spent two weeks at Valdebebas, Madrid’s training complex, catching the eye of all the club’s coaches. Playing alongside him were Dani Carvajal, Pablo Sarabia and Alex Fernández. Neymar’s trial was such a success that the club decided to sign him, with the intention of handing him his debut in the final games of the 2005-06 season.
Yet Neymar’s stay in the Spanish capital was cut short - because Real Madrid did not want to pay the fee of 60,000 euros that his agent, Wagner Ribeiro, was asking for. In March 2006, the La Liga outfit was under the stewardship of Fernando Martín following the surprise departure of president Florentino Pérez. Technical secretary Ramón Martínez requested the now Brazil international’s signing, but director general Carlos Martínez de Albornoz did not want to take responsibility for paying 60,000 euros for a 14-year-old – and the move was not sanctioned.
On Neymar’s player passport, which was issued by the Brazilian Football Federation when he moved to Barcelona, there is no record that he was once on the books at Real Madrid. According to experts, this is unusual. The passport – to which AS has also had access – only indicates his periods at Santos as an amateur (2006 – 2008) and as a professional (2008 – 2013). Furthermore, the document states that the player was not registered at any club between 6 and 30 July, and was signed up by Barcelona on 31 July.
Despite Real Madrid’s overtures over the past two years, the 21-year-old finally opted for Barcelona this summer. But, on 29 March 2006, he put pen to paper with Madrid...