BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Neymar said in court on Tuesday in a fraud and corruption trial over his transfer from Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona in 2013 that he knew little about the negotiations and his father was always in charge of his contracts.
Neymar and his father, who acts as his agent, were among those accused of concealing the real amount of the transfer from an investment group involved in the negotiations.
Neymar’s mother, former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Bartomeu, and representatives of both club also were in court in the trial that began on Monday and was expected to last at least until next week.
Neymar testified for only a few minutes.
“My father handles everything,” he said. “I wasn’t involved in the negotiations. I only sign what he tells me to sign.”
Neymar said he heard rumors about other clubs wanting to sign him but his dream as a kid was always to play for Barcelona.
“In the end it was either (Real) Madrid or Barcelona, but I followed my heart and chose Barça,” he said.
Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez was called to testify by the plaintiffs and said via video conference he didn’t know Neymar personally but admitted his club was interested in signing the player before he joined Barcelona. He said Madrid made an offer for Neymar for 45 million euros (now $44.2 million).