Chelsea defender David Luiz has claimed he rejected a move to Barcelona despite his Brazilian international team-mates attempting to lure him to the Nou Camp.
Barcelona were keen to add a central defender to their squad due to concerns over Carles Puyol’s long-term fitness after the club captain has suffered a string of injuries in recent years.
The Spanish champions attempted to sign both Luiz and Liverpool defender Daniel Agger, while they also had interest in Paris St-Germain centre-back Thiago Silva, until the Brazilian put pen to paper on a new long-term contract.
Luiz has now revealed how his Brazil colleagues Neymar and Dani Alves attempted to persuade him into a move after the Catalan club made a “formal offer”, with the trio still on international duty together.
The 26-year-old did not elaborate on whether the Blues had accepted the bid, but he insisted that the decision to remain at Stamford Bridge had been his own.
"There was a formal offer from Barcelona but I decided to stay at Chelsea,” Luiz was quoted in The Sun.
"Dani Alves and Neymar were sent to try to convince me to sign, but I was clear with them I was staying.
"It was not Chelsea's decision, it was mine."
Luiz joined Chelsea in January 2011 for a reported £21m from Portuguese club Benfica, and he quickly developed a reputation for rampaging forward in attack, leaving himself and the Chelsea defence exposed.
Former boss Rafael Benitez considered switching Luiz to a defensive midfielder role, having deployed him on occasion in the position, but Luiz developed his game and now stands as one of the best central defenders in the Premier League.
Since his move to London, Luiz has won the Champions League, Europa League and the FA Cup, and despite speculation that the recently returned Jose Mourinho didn’t see Luiz in his plans, he has remained an integral figure in the Chelsea back four.
‘The Special One’ even spoke publicly of his desire to keep Luiz at the club, in an attempt to fend off any potential suitors such as Barcelona.