Real Madrid and Brazil star Rodrygo has revealed how he agreed to join FC Barcelona.
The Santos academy product celebrated becoming a world champion with Los Blancos at the weekend but could have easily once donned Blaugrana instead as revealed in an interview with Goal.
“When my father told me the news… I always tell this story,” Rodrygo explained. “I had two shirts: one for Barca and one for Real Madrid and I had to choose.
“It was very easy for me to choose. But it was all agreed with Barcelona, it was a surprise for me, I didn’t expect Real Madrid to come. It was a scare but then it was one of the happiest moments of my life,” he added.
That Rodrygo had first agreed to join Barca from Santos in 2017, and replicate his idol Neymar’s club trajectory, has long been known and previously reported on by Catalan daily newspaper SPORT.
As the forward reminisced, Barca had everything tied up with the player’s father until Madrid present Florentino Perez, still smarting about missing out on Neymar, hijacked the move at the last minute.
Perez is said to have offered both the player’s family and agents €8mn ($8.6mn) each on top of the €40mn ($43mn) – with €20mn ($21.5mn) to be paid immediately – handed over to his Sao Paulo coastal club who were experiencing financial difficulties at the time.
After turning 18 in 2019, Rodrygo flew to the Spanish capital and the rest is history. The Qatar 2022 World Cup star has since become a cult hero at the Bernabeu who was vital in their run to the Champions League title last term and has scored important goals against Barca.
Also missing out on Vinicius Jr and Endrick to their bitter rivals, there is nothing Barca can do except avoid making the same mistake with Vitor Roque.
The Athletico Paranaense striker has made headlines after leading Brazil to the South American U20 Championship where he was the top scorer. But as confirmed by his agent Andre Cury, it seems Barca have already had an offer of €25mn ($27mn) rejected by his club which is below their reported asking price.