In the race for the then youngster from Santos, many top clubs were in the running. Chelsea scored with Neymar and his father with an announcement.
The soccer scouts succeed time and again in bringing incredibly talented footballers from all corners of the world to the big leagues in Europe. In 2011, however, you didn’t need a scout to realize that Neymar would be the next superstar in international football.
The Brazilian from Santos was anything but an insider tip – and that’s why the super clubs of Europe stood in line at his club and at Neymar’s father, who was also one of his advisors.
And Neymar’s father enjoyed himself as the representative of the most sought-after footballer on the planet. The more interested parties showed up and spoke to him personally, the more it became clear to him that he could do the really big deal with his boy. And it gradually became clear to the clubs that it might take more than just an outstanding offer to convince the mega-talent to move.
Chelsea also got involved in the race for Neymar and sent their soccer boss Michael Emenalo to Santos to try his luck there. And the Blues representative chose an alternative approach in order to be successful in Brazil, as the soccer lawyer Marcos Motta, who was present at the talks, said in the Guardian remembered. Emenalo delivered one of the best presentations he had ever seen, according to Motta – and Michael Jordan played a central role in it.
Chelsea boss compares Neymar to the NBA star
“That was the first time that Neymar’s father listened to someone for 30 minutes without looking at his cell phone,” Motta reported. Emenalo told the story of the underperforming Chicago Bulls, who only slowly evolved into the top team with the arrival of Michael Jordan and then into the team that won a row of titles in the NBA.
Neymar should become the Michael Jordan of Chelsea – so the core message of Emenalos. “You will take Chelsea all the way to the top,” he told the Brazilian.
Too bad for the blues that Neymar had already made up his mind. The other clubs could do and tell what they wanted: Neymar only wanted to go to FC Barcelona – and finally got his will in 2013. With Messi, Xavi, Iniesta and Co. he won numerous titles. But he certainly did not become the Catalans’ Michael Jordan.