Man United were ‘close’ to signing one of world’s best players, he rejected mega salary

Manchester United came “close” to signing Barcelona’s Neymar according to the player’s agent, Wagner Ribeiro.

The Brazilian talisman, who starred as his country won gold at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro over the summer, has emerged as one of the finest players on the planet since joining the Catalan club from Santos in 2013.

Indeed, consistent on-field performances saw him named on the final shortlist for the Ballon d’Or award in 2015, alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Man United have been linked with stunning moves for Neymar previously and his agent, Ribeiro, has now told ESPN Brasil that the 24-year-old came “close” to joining the Red Devils as well as Paris Saint-Germain – but rejected both clubs to stay with Barcelona.

“He was close to joining PSG, he would have earned €40m-a-year net,” said Ribeiro.

“Neymar was also close to a spell at Manchester United, but he extended his contract to earn less at Barcelona because he wanted to stay at Barcelona.

“PSG were willing to pay his €190m (£160.7m) release clause, Manchester United were interested but PSG were closer to signing him.”

Neymar signed a new contract at Barcelona in July, tying him to the La Liga champions until 2021, with a release clause of £210m in place for the last three of those years.