Brazil’s poster boy Neymar has claimed the legendary Pele had blocked his potential move to Premier League giants Chelsea in 2010 and convinced him to stay at Santos.
The Barcelona forward said that it was Pele and the club president’s conviction that helped him make a decision on his future as he snubbed the London club to stay back at Santos for another three years before finally moving to Barcelona last summer after a protracted transfer saga.
The 22 year old has been the star of the show for Brazil at this summer’s World Cup and has already scored four goals for the Canaries as they chase a sixth world title.
Barcelona signed the Brazilian for € 57 million last summer in a move that has since caused several legal problems for the club forcing their president to resign but Neymar has claimed it was Pele and the president of Santos who convinced him to snub a big money move to England with Chelsea four years ago.
The story emerged from a book titled ‘Neymar: My Story – Conversations with my Father’, which is being published serially in an English daily. In the book, he has claimed that back in August 2010, he and his father went for a meeting with Santos chief Luis Alvaro and during the middle of the meeting, he switched off the lights and pointing to an empty chair, said that it was the chair for the national sports hero.
He went on to add that since the death of Ayrton Senna, it has remained vacant and if Neymar snubbed Chelsea, he would take the first step in claiming his stake on that chair.
Following the meeting, even Pele called him and talked to him about the club and that was enough to convince a young Neymar to stay at Santos.