'Neymar could have been Madrid's Messi'

A former club official of los Blancos says the 21-year-old should be lining up against the Argentine in future Clasico's rather than playing alongside him
Neymar could have been the Lionel Messi of Real Madrid, according to the club's former sporting director Alberto Giraldez.

The Brazil star, who completed a €57 million move to Barcelona from Santos in May, had a trial in the Spanish capital as a 14-year-old in 2006.

However, Carlos Martinez de Albornoz, the club's general manager at the time, reportedly had reservations about paying the €60,000 requested by Neymar's agent Wagner Ribeiro to secure the services of the future star, which Giraldez labelled a "historic mistake".

"Neymar was willing to stay at Real Madrid. We even registered him in the city," he told Cadena Ser. "We saw that he was different.

"It was a historic mistake by Real. He could have been our Messi."

The 21-year-old netted his first competitive goal for the Blaugrana in the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid in the first-leg of the Spanish Super Cup a fortnight ago.