"Vinicius' agents betrayed us" - says ex-Barcelona head of South America
The former head of Barcelona's South American operations has revealed that Barcelona had a deal agreed with Vinicius' agents before he eventually joined Real Madrid.
André Cury, Barcelona’s former head in South America, has given an interview to Catalan daily Sport, in which he claimed that Real Madrid signed Rodrygo because “they did not trust Vinicius” and slammed the young Brazilian’s representatives for “betraying" the Camp Nou outfit.
Cury stated that Vinicius had made a commitment to Barça but a trip to Madrid on the invitation of Florentino Pérez changed everything. "Vinicius' father and his agents were in Barcelona. Wagner Ribeiro called Florentino to let him know. And he invited them to go to Madrid on Saturday. They told us they would go, but that nothing would happen because the footballer was already committed to Barcelona,” he told Sport.
“There was a commitment by word of mouth… The agents returned to Barcelona, closed the final agreement with us, shook our hands ... And then they disappeared and betrayed us "
Vinicius: Barcelona were three and half years ahead of Madrid
The former Barcelona head of South America also claimed the Catalan club had spotted Vinicius long before he caught the attention of Real Madrid and revealed details of his close personal relationship with his agents.
“With Vinicius we were three and a half years ahead of Madrid. His agents, Frederico Penna and Stefano Hawilla, who had reached a commitment with Barcelona, betrayed us. The client of his company was us and not Madrid. I had a huge friendship with them, to the point of being best man at weddings and baptisms,” said Cury.
“At the key moment of the operation, they stabbed us in the back. Fifteen days before signing for Madrid, here in Brazil Vinicius said that he was a Barça fan, that his idol was Neymar and that Messi was better than Cristiano. Then he said what he wanted after he went to Madrid.”
Cury on why Madrid signed Rodrygo
Cury also discussed Madrid’s signing of Rodrygo. “They did not trust Vinicius and feared that they had signed the wrong player and we the correct one. That is why they have two players of the same age, in the same position and from outside the EU,” he said.
“I had known Rodrygo for a long time and he had a profile to play for Barça. I started negotiating with his agent, Nick Arcuri. Oscar Grau, Pep Segura and I met twice here in Brazil with the president of Santos. I told them we had to leave with the deal closed. We didn’t. And he went to Madrid.”