Neymar has revealed that he was all set to join the Real Madrid academy early in his footballing journey but backed out as he got homesick.

Speaking on the Fenomenos podcast, as relayed by GOAL, Paris Saint-Germain superstar has revealed that his career could have taken a completely different path if he had not refused to join the Real Madrid academy at a young age.

One of the best exponents of South American football ever, Neymar’s talents were recognised at a very young age. Having taken the nation by storm before he entered his teens, the Brazilian has now revealed that Real Madrid offered him an extended trial, and everything was set for him to sign up with the Merengues.

“When I was 10 Real Madrid invited me for a try-out. I was thrilled, I was so happy, I watched their practice. It was during the Galacticos era. I watched their game,” the 30-year-old said.

Neymar recalled the experience of seeing Brazilian legends like Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo in action for Real Madrid and even got a chance to meet them, following which he was offered an opportunity to continue with the club’s academy, but he decided to quit.

“I watched a game and I think all the goals were scored by Brazilians. I think two by Ronaldo, one by Robinho and a free-kick from Julio Baptista and another by Roberto Carlos. After the game I got a picture with all of them. I was over the moon,” Neymar added.

“I stayed there for a week, for the try-out. It lasted for four of five days. On the fifth day they wanted to take me to a championship being held in Barcelona MIC Cup but I quit. I got really homesick and I wanted to go back home. It was pretty much all set up for me to play at Real Madrid but then I got back.”

A few years down the line, Neymar returned to Spain, only to sign for Real Madrid’s bitter rivals Barcelona from Santos FC in 2013. The Brazilian enjoyed a successful four-year stint with the Blaugrana as he won several titles with the club before moving to PSG in the summer of 2017 for a world-record transfer fee of €222 million.

Interestingly enough, Neymar got to join forces with Pablo Sarabia, who was at the Real Madrid academy during the former’s trial period, at PSG. “It’s funny because I met Pablo Sarabia playing at PSG and he was there too at Real Madrid back then,” he added. “He remembers everything, that I was there for a few days and then I left.”

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