Neymar has been told he was “totally wrong to leave Barcelona”, with Santos president Jose Carlos Peres urging a player he helped to mould to return to Spain at Real Madrid.
The Brazilian superstar was nurtured through Santos’ famed youth system in his homeland.
He followed in the footsteps of the likes of Pele and Robinho before making a move to Europe and ending up at Camp Nou.
Four productive years were enjoyed in Catalunya, registering over 100 goals, but Neymar took the decision to head for France at Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017.
That switch surprised many – not least because of the €222 million (£200m/$262m) transfer fee involved – and Peres believes the wrong career call was made.
A return to La Liga has been mooted for Neymar, and those back in his homeland would like to see him competing on the other side of a Clasico divide.
Peres told Marca: “I hope Neymar goes to Real Madrid, it would be the best place for him.
“He was totally wrong to leave Barcelona, he was still growing as a player. He hasn’t done well since he left.
“I’m a follower of Real Madrid and it’s a club that does things in a perfect way. If he gets the chance to wear the Real Madrid shirt, then he shouldn’t think twice.”
While Neymar could end up in Madrid at some stage in the future, fellow countryman Rodrygo will be making that move this summer.
The 18-year-old is trading Santos for the Santiago Bernabeu and is being tipped to make an immediate impression in European football with the Blancos.
“Rodrygo is going to be a great player, I was very happy when he signed for Madrid,” Peres said.
“He’s not a star, he is always willing to learn.
“He loves football, and that is very important.”
Peres accepts that players like Neymar and Rodrygo will continue to slip his net, with Santos no longer in a position to challenge leading sides outside of South America.
He added: “We’ve had Pele and other great players, we used to play 60 or 70 friendly matches in Europe, but now we can’t do it.
“The best players to come through here are Pele, Robinho, Neymar and now Rodrygo.
“The best thing about this club is that we always play attacking football, looking to control our opponent; we can win again and we’re the most internationally recognised Brazilian team.”