Brazil star Neymar has revealed that he turned down a move to Chelsea in 2010, despite a "huge transfer bid" from the then Premier League champions and says it was the right decision.
Neymar, now 22, eventually opted for a switch to Barcelona last summer after 10 years on the books of Santos and he has lit up the World Cup on home soil, hitting four goals in Brazil’s opening three games.
Chelsea were reported to be chasing the forward for some time prior to his Nou Camp switch, but in his autobiography Neymar: My story â Conversations With My Father, he recounts the moment which prompted him to stay in Brazil for the time-being.
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"It was August 23, 2010. My father and I had a meeting with president Luis Alvaro at the Santos headquarters inside the Vila Belmiro. Chelsea had made a huge transfer bid," he wrote.
"In the middle of our conversation, the president turned off the lights and pointed at an empty chair. ‘This is the chair of the great national sports hero.
"Since Ayrton Senna’s death, this chair is vacant. If Neymar Jr stays in Santos and refuses Chelsea’s proposal, he will give his first step to sit in this chair.’
"That made us think. That decision would be a turning point in my life. Even Pele called me. Can you imagine how important I felt? The King of Football called me and asked me to stay.
"He reminded me of his entire career with Santos, his five world titles with the national team and the club, and all the recognition he received.
"It wasn’t easy but it was the right decision for us. We did the right thing for our friends and my career."