Neymar’s career, which has made him a €222 million asset at Paris Saint-Germain, could have been markedly different had Lokomotiv Moscow not decided against a move in 2008.
After seeing the Brazilian forward star for Santos during the Mediterranean Cup youth tournament, the Russian giants mulled over a €10m approach.
They were, however, to reach the conclusion that the required transfer package was too costly and a risk not worth taking on the precocious teenager.
Instead, Lokomotiv placed trust in a promising youngster on their own books, Alan Gatagov – a decision which has been made to look rather foolish in hindsight.
“We thought about whether or not it was worth buying Neymar,” former Lokomotiv president Nikolai Naumov told Sport-Express .
“We wanted to buy him. Our scouts watched the Brazilian.”
“There were quite big doubts. First, he was too young. Second, it was unclear how he’d adapt to Russia… so we decided against getting him.”