‘Neymar passed medical with Real Madrid’, says Florentino Perez
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has claimed Neymar completed a medical at the Bernabeu before the Brazilian sealed a switch to rivals Barcelona.
"Neymar passed a medical with Madrid. We tried for him to come, but we saw at one point that it was not possible and we withdrew (from the deal)," Perez told Onda Cero.
Instead, Perez sanctioned a then-world record deal with Tottenham for Gareth Bale. The Welshman’s fee of £85m has since been smashed by Manchester United’s £89.3m swoop for Paul Pogba from Juventus - with speculation fervent that the record could be blown again this summer.
Perez also confirmed that the club are following Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
AC Milan's goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma gestures as he protest to box referee.Reuters
The 18-year-old has rejected a new contract with the Rossoneri, and despite suggestions last night that talks could be re-opened, he’s expected to leave the club this summer.
Real Madrid has been touted as his most likely destination, and it appears Los Merengues are indeed interested, with Peres telling Radio Onda Cero:
" Everyone in the world says he’s a great player, who will replace [Gigi] Buffon in the national team. That he’s one with great quality. The whole world is telling me. We’re definitely following him, but I can’t tell you everything we’ll do."
Donnarumma became the second youngest goalkeeper in Serie A history when he made his debut for Milan in 2015 at the age of just 15. And last year became the youngster ever goalkeeper to paly for the Italian national team.
The now 18-year-old has established himself as Milan's first-choice keeper with a number of excellent displays over the last two years, but agent Mino Raiola says that the club have not been treating their young star "like an asset".
The transfer wranglings have led to fans voicing their displeasure, throwing fake money at the Donnarumma.
But Raiola says the blame for this summer's contract angst lies at the door of the Milan officials:
" Gigio was initially convinced to stay at Milan, because at age 14 he chose those colours, after contacts with Inter Milan. Now there is a genuine risk he could miss a year. His quality makes that improbable, but this is already on the verge of mobbing. We took a decision that we didn't want to take. It was nothing to do with money. We were threatened."
With additional reporting by Football Italia