Madrid: Neymar's father and agent told a Spanish court investigating alleged tax fraud in his son's signing by Barcelona that the player rejected a much higher offer from Real Madrid of 150 million euros ($190 million). Barcelona initially said the signing of the 22-year-old player from Brazilian side Santos in May 2012 cost them 57.1 million euros.
But after questions were raised about the deal by a Barcelona club member, the club in January revealed the deal was worth 86.2 million euros when including the player's signing bonus, commission, marketing deals and other agreements. The club member, Jordi Cases, accused former Barcelona president Sandro Rossell of misappropriation for not declaring publicly that 40 million euros of the initial figure quoted by Barcelona was paid to N&N, a company controlled by Neymar's parents.
As a result Barcelona were indicted in February for tax fraud. During questioning at Madrid's National Court on Wednesday, the player's father, Neymar Da Silva Santos Sr, said Real offered 150 million euros for his son but the player preferred Barcelona's offer because the Catalan side had a greater "international projection", a court source said.
He also told the court that his son's contracts with Barcelona were all legal, the source added. Whilst giving testimony in July, Rosell told the court that all contracts related to Neymar's signing "were done perfectly" and respected the law. Rossell stepped down in January over the affair. In April, the Spanish league said it believed there was nothing irregular about the Neymar signing.
Earlier this year Barcelona made a voluntary tax payment of 13.5 million euros to normalise the situation and avoid the club's name being further tarnished. Neymar is back to full fitness after missing the World Cup semi-final and third-place playoff in his home country with a serious back injury picked up in the quarter-final victory over Colombia. He made an excellent start to the 2014-15 season with the Catalan side, scoring six goals in five La Liga appearances this season.