Dani Alves says Neymar told him last month to move to Paris Saint-Germain as he was considering his own move to the French capital.
The defender, who was released by Juventus after last season, was heavily linked to joining Manchester City until signing for PSG in a shock move on July 12.
That was five days before the first reports broke that Neymar was also considering joining PSG from Barcelona, but Alves said his Brazil teammate let him know earlier he was considering a move.
“I talked to him about the possibility,” Alves said after helping PSG win their Ligue 1 opener on Saturday. “He recommended me to come here. He suggested that I come to the club.
“I said I wanted to leave Juventus, and he was thinking of coming here.”
Despite his initial leanings, Neymar stayed silent throughout the transfer saga and said on Friday that he had not made up his mind on whether to leave until just before the deal was completed.
Alves made his PSG debut in the 2-0 victory over Amiens, but Neymar was left waiting after his international clearance did not come through in time.
“There is anticipation because of the football he plays and his will to show it to the world,” said Alves, who previously won La Liga, the Champions League and Club World Cup alongside Neymar at Barcelona.
“You take a giant step when you have a player of this level to play against the other teams. This team will get a quality leap forward.”
Neymar’s €222 million transfer more than doubled the previous record, and the superstar is set to make a remarkable €30m a year after taxes.
Meanwhile, PSG reportedly offered Alves twice as much as he would earn at Man City, but the 35-year-old said the wages were not their primary concern.
“We are not moved by money,” Alves said. “Few people leave their comfort zone, and we are Brazilians. Brazilians do that.”
The arrival of Neymar and Alves adds an even stronger Brazilian flavor to a squad captained by Thiago Silva, whose centre-back partner is compatriot Marquinhos.
“Our group is very good, people here are very close,” Alves said. “This makes the adaptation a little easier. [Neymar] is very happy and we welcomed him with open arms. I am close because I know what this is like. He came to the right place at the right time.”
Neymar’s exit from Barcelona to the less-prestigious Ligue 1 raised eyebrows, but Alves said the new-look PSG squad can change perceptions around the world.
“It isn’t only about Barcelona, about Spanish clubs,” Alves said. “There is life, challenge and football in other places. Neymar coming changes PSG’s position for sure. It is inevitable that there are expectations. His greatness brings all that.”
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