Guardiola: I wanted Neymar at Barcelona 3 years ago
Pep Guardiola has revealed he wanted to sign Neymar for Barcelona three years ago, while rubbishing reports claiming he doubted Tito Vilanova's ability to partner him alongside Lionel Messi.
The Bayern Munich coach first became aware of the 21-year-old during his four-year tenure in charge of the Liga champions and says he did all he could to convince him to move to Camp Nou.
He said: "(Rosell) asked me to call him (Neymar) to discuss the possibility of convincing him to come to Barcelona and what I did was trying to convince him. At the last Fifa gala, I talked to him. We talked about football, the match against Santos and the idea I had of football."
Neymar eventually joined Barca from Santos for £48 million earlier this summer, but the move provoked much debate as to whether the Selecao star would complement Messi because of the similarity between their respective games.
Some sections of the media even claimed Guardiola himself had dismissed Tito Vilanova's ability to successfully mould the pair together, but the 42-year-old hit back at what he says are false accusations on the same afternoon he slammed Barca president Sandro Rosell for allegedly using underhand tactics against him.
"Winning the league with the record points in Barcelona's history is enough of an argument for me to tell if he [Vilanova] is qualified or not," the Bavarians boss added.
"Good players are always able to play together, and these too. Intermediaries are very wrong. The information they gave is very wrong. I would never dare make a comment like the one suggested I've done."
The Bavarians boss also revealed his interest in signing Barcelona star Thiago Alcantara, after mounting speculation the midfielder was set to join Manchester United.