PARIS • Neymar's father has been labelled as the mastermind behind the Brazilian star's €222 million (S$355 million) world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain.
But Neymar Sr has revealed that his son would still be at Barcelona if he had his way.
"I was surprised by his decision to come to Paris. We had a proposal last year from PSG, but we did not reach an agreement," the elder Neymar told French football programme Telefoot. "This year was very interesting because I was the one who hesitated as it seemed better for him to stay in comfort.
"I was the one who hesitated until the last moment. I told him that the best choice was to stay but he wanted to take a risk.
"It was difficult, but Neymar wanted this challenge and we supported him."
Neymar Sr, who is also his son's agent, insisted that the 25-year-old is motivated by team honours and not obsessed with displacing former team-mate Lionel Messi as the Ballon d'Or winner.
"To help Paris win the Champions League motivated him," he said. "If Neymar should win the Ballon d'Or, he will, but I don't think that he really wants it. If he wanted that, he could have remained at Barcelona."
Neymar, however, was criticised in some quarters for being individualistic when he argued with team-mate Edinson Cavani last month over who would take a penalty against Lyon during a Ligue 1 match.
A fortnight later, Neymar took - and converted - a penalty as PSG thrashed Bordeaux 6-2 .
Ahead of Uruguay's World Cup qualifier against Venezuela tomorrow, Cavani insisted that the spat was exaggerated.
"It's football stuff. The truth is that everyone is aware that things have become bigger than they are," the striker was quoted as saying by British newspaper The Daily Mail.
"These are things you discuss in the locker room. It is important that everyone strives for the same goal."