Exclusive: The former Barcelona scout tells SPORT what happened and why Barça missed out
Andre Cury, Barcelona's former scout in South American, has spoken in an interview with SPORT about Barcelona's attempts to sign Vinicius Jr. and Rodrygo, two players that ended up at Real Madrid.
How do you explain that two Barça targets both ended up at Madrid?
We were three and a half years ahead of Madrid on Vinicius.
But he got away...
That's another issue. His agents, Frederico Penna and Stefano Hawilla, betrayed us. They had a commitment with Barcelona. I was good friends with them but at the key moment they stabbed us in the back. Fifteen days before signing for Madrid, here in Brazil, Vinicius was saying that he was a Barça fan, that his idol was Neymar and that Messi was better than Ronaldo.
"His agents and father were in Barcelona. Wagner Ribeiro phoned [Madrid president] Florentino [Perez] to alert him. And he invited them to Madrid on the Saturday. They told us they would go, but that nothing would happen because the player was already with Barcelona. We had their word. They returned to Barcelona, closed the agreement with us, shook hands... and then they disappeared. They betrayed us."
Is it not surprising Madrid then also went for Rodrygo?
They didn't have confidence in Vinicius and feared they would have signed the wrong player and that we'd get the right one. For that reason, they have two players of the same age, in the same position and both in non-EU spots. I knew Rodrygo for a long time and he had the profile to play for Barça. I started to negotiate with his agent, Nick Arcuri. The club was in Brazil twice to meet with the Santos president. It was me, Oscar Grau and Pep Segura. I told them we had to leave with the deal closed. We didn't. And Madrid arrived.
How much would Barça have paid?
It was 18 million euros for Vinicius and 20 million for Rodrygo. Madrid spent 60 million on Vinicius, 45m up front, 6m in commission, an 8m signing bonus and a 3m net salary. With Rodrygo, they paid 65m in total and five times more to the player than we offered. But despite all that, Rodrygo's father called me saying he would prefer to sign for Barça if we could strike a deal with Santos.
There was no agreement between the clubs. Barça's response was not to put another euro on top of the offer.
Was Reinier ever a Barcelona target?
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