Real Madrid legend Ronaldo believes his former side did not really try to sign Neymar this summer, labelling a rumoured pursuit for his Brazilian compatriot as “not viable”.
Neymar, who endured a tough World Cup for Brazil, has been heavily linked for some time with the Bernabeu just over one year on since his world-record switch from Paris Saint-Germain.
However, the Whites, this summer, distanced themselves from speculation that they had ever even tried to acquire the 26-year-old’s talents.
And Ronaldo, through his connections at the club and with the player himself, backed up Real’s version of events in an interview with Marca.
“Nobody from Real Madrid has made their interest clear,” the 41-year-old, who is widely considered one of the best players ever, said.
“All good players are interesting to them, and nine out of ten teams will want Neymar. I don’t think there was an attempt to sign him and you can’t play with people’s emotions.
Ronaldo added: “He (Neymar) is not viable and there has been no attempt, but I speak only as a lover of the club.”
The former Barcelona man scored the third goal in a 3-1 win on Saturday, with fellow forwards Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe also finding the net.
Watch the full clip here.
The Brazilian superstar was widely lambasted in Russia for his theatrical reactions to challenges which often left the world’s most expensive footballer wincing and rolling on the ground.
“Boot studs on the shins, kick in the spine, stomp on the foot, you may think I overreact, and sometimes I do, but for real? I suffer on the pitch, but you have no idea what I go through outside of it,” he said in comments on a television commercial for a razor blade.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward, speaking in Portuguese with English subtitles, continued “You may all think I’ve fallen too much, but the reality is I did not fall, I crumbled.”
“And that hurts more than anyone stepping on your post op ankle,” he added, alluding to the surgery on the injury he suffered back in February.
“When I act like a brat, it isn’t because I’m a spoiled child, but because I still haven’t learned to deal with my frustrations.
“There’s still a boy inside of me, sometimes it dazzles the world. Other times it pisses everyone off.
“And my fight is to keep this boy alive, but inside of me, not inside the field.”
He adds: “You can keep throwing rocks at me, or you can throw your rocks away and help me get up. Because when I do get up the whole of Brazil gets up with me.”
This is not the first time Neymar has addressed his taxing World Cup.
On his return from Russia he took a tongue in cheek swipe at his detractors with an online video teaching children how to dive.
And last week, in an interview with AFP, Neymar disclosed he “didn’t want to see a ball, or to see any more football played” after Brazil’s premature exit.