Karl-Heinz Rummenigge says Bayern Munich opted against signing Neymar as they feared he would struggle to adapt to Germany and therefore chose Mario Gotze.
The Bundesliga champions's new coach Pep Guardiola had earmarked both players as potential reinforcements, but eventually decided to snap up the former Borussia Dortmund star for €37 million.
"We had a clear idea of what kind of player we wanted to sign and discussed this with Pep," Rummenigge, the chairman of die Roten, was quoted as saying by Sport Bild.
"There were really only two players out there who fit the bill and were realistic transfer targets. One was Neymar and the other was Gotze.
"The eventual decision was made during a meeting in Zurich when the weather conditions were abysmal. I told Pep to glance outside and he asked me why.
"I then told him to imagine a Brazilian leaving his native country in 30 degrees celsius, only to arrive here when it's minus six.
"Additionally, he does not speak the language and the German culture is nothing like the warm atmosphere South Americans are used to. That would all be pretty difficult for such a young player."
Neymar left Santos for Barcelona this summer as the Catalans beat Real Madrid to the 21-year-old's signature.