Brazil star Neymar reveals the day he rejected 'huge' Chelsea offer

Barcelona forward Neymar is one of the stars of the current World Cup tournament, yet he could have been a Blue had it not been for Pele!

He is carrying the hopes of the entire country on his shoulders as he leads a host nation uncharacteristically bereft of talent in all positions yet his star is shining bright and, if he maintains his form, could be a lock for the Golden Ball and Golden Boot as the World Cup tournament's best player and top scorer.

He is Neymar, a player Barcelona were willing to pay a controversial £59 million for last summer and a striker who, at just 22-years-old, has a decade of terrorising La Liga defences ahead of him.

But he could have been a Chelsea player, the superstar himself explains in a revealing interview with Sportsmail, as the Blues were reportedly keen on him four years ago yet a personal call from Pele convinced him to remain at his then club Santos.

"It was August 23, 2010," the poster-boy of this generation in Brazil reflected. "Chelsea had made a huge transfer bid. In the middle of our conversation, the president turned off the lights and pointed at an empty chair.

"That decision would be a turning point in my life. Even Pele called me… the King of Football called and asked me to stay [and] he reminded me of his entire career with Santos, his five world titles with the national team and the club, and all the recognition he received. It wasn’t easy but it was the right decision for us. We did the right thing for our family, friends and my career."

  NationTouch /AppPass AccChance Created /AppAssistDribble /AppShot /AppShot AccGoalAppMin
Neymar Brazil 63.3 82.4% 2.0 0 6.3 3.7 72.7% 4 3 249

With over 60 touches in every appearance for Luiz Felipe Scolari's Selecao team, Neymar returns, on a per game average, an 82% passing accuracy, two goal-scoring chances for his team-mates, six dribbles, almost four hosts on goal with an accuracy of 72% and four goals.

All that from just three games.

Considering the dearth of quality Jose Mourinho had to choose from in the striking department last season, where not one of his three main options - Demba Ba, Fernando Torres or Samuel Eto'o - represented consistency or reliability in front of goal, a player of Neymar's ilk would have been a formidable striking threat.

But, alas, that "huge transfer" were not to be.

What is Chelsea's loss, is Barcelona's gain and the player has continued to flourish into a world-beater regardless.

His nation, who look to him alone to change a game, to affect a game… to win a game, will have all eyes on him later today as Brazil take on Chile at the Estadio Mineirao in the first knockout stage.

FIFA World Cup 2018FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia - click here for all of our coverage...

Register for CHELSEA team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch