Barcelona’s former scout reveals Vinicius Junior betrayal

Vinicius Junior (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Vinicius Junior (Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

The country of Brazil has been a goldmine for European clubs who have set up dense scouting networks to watch blooming gems and when the time is right, snap them before their rivals. Barcelona also has scouts in the South American region and they have been successful in recognizing and signing talents such as Neymar and Arthur in recent times but there are some that also got away like Vinicius Junior.

While Neymar was already a hot property across Europe when Barcelona signed him, Barcelona also looks out for starlets who could explode if given the right incubation and guidance. However, in the past few seasons, Barca’s arch-rivals Real Madrid have instead managed to get the upper hand on young players with tremendous potential. Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Reinier Jesus and Eder Militao are some of the players on the Real Madrid roster who are promising and are delivering impressive results.

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However, Vinicius Junior could very well have been a Barcelona player. Barcelona’s former Brazilian scout Andre Curry who was instrumental in getting the Neymar deal done has opened up on the betrayal of Vinicius Jr.

As per the scout, Barcelona were three and a half years ahead of Los Blancos on Vinicius and had been watching him for a long time. The player’s agent and father also landed in Barcelona which is when Real Madrid President Florentino Perez invited them to Madrid. At this point, Barcelona were sure that the youngster would sign with them as the entourage closed the deal and shook hands.

Vinicius Junior’s agent betrayed Barcelona

"“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.” (via Sport)"

Curry also reflected on Rodrygo and how the Blaugrana were also interested in the Sau Paulo born footballer but an agreement couldn’t be reached with Santos whereas Real Madrid managed to close the deal. The figures were also discussed regarding the two deals.

"“They didn’t have confidence in Vinicius Junior 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.”“It was 18 million euros for Vinicius and 20 million for Rodrygo. Madrid spent 60 million on Vinicius, 45m upfront, 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.” (via Sport)"

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Though Barca missed out on these exuberant youngsters, the club is now starting to trust their academy products and youngsters which is a very good sign for the club.