Real Madrid wanted to sign Neymar from Barcelona before he signed new contract

He signed a new five-year contract with Barca in October

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The Independent Online

Real Madrid were preparing to make a move for Neymar before he signed a new contract with Barcelona last month, according to the Brazilian’s father.

The 11-time Champions League winners were at the front of the pack to sign the 24-year-old with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United also interested.

Reports in the Spanish press suggested that Florentino Perez was keen for Neymar to follow the path trodden by Luis Figo when he moved from Catalonia to the Spanish capital in 2000.

However, Neymar opted to extend his stay at the Spanish champions until 2021, having arrived at the Nou Camp from Santos is 2013.

The deal saw his buyout clause soar from €190m to €200 in the first year, €222m in the second and €250m for the remaining three years.

"Madrid were interested through intermediaries," Neymar Sr. told Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo.

"I always said the same thing to everyone: if Neymar leaves Barca, you have to pay the €190 million release clause, plus the taxes on that money. And with everything else, it would end up being €430m."

He also insisted that Neymar was always committed to remaining with Barcelona and that he had never been inclined to listen to other offers from around Europe.

"The offers didn't reach him; they came to me. I know what Neymar wanted and that was to stay," he added.

"I receive 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."

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