Neymar and Coutinho, despite their respective sagas in this summer’s transfer window, both shared the same dream as teenagers.
It turns out that the Brazilian duo aimed to play for Real Madrid, not Barcelona, although both expressed their admiration of the Spanish top flight.
Neymar, of course, departed Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month, bringing to an end a four-year spell that began when he arrived at the Nou Camp from Santos in 2013.
Coutinho, meanwhile, has been at the centre of a number of failed bids from the Blaugrana, with Liverpool determined to keep the midfielder at Anfield.
But neither had Barcelona as their ideal future destinations when speaking to Marca in a 2008 interview, while playing for the Brazil under-16 squad.
Asked of their dream clubs, Coutinho said: “Real Madrid. It is the best team in the world.” Neymar echoed his compatriot. “Real Madrid.”
And quizzed on their idols growing up, Neymar confessed to admiring then Los Blancos forward Robinho. “I joined Santos aged seven,” he said. “At the start I played football sala and then moved to Portuguesa Santista before returning to Santos.
“I saw Robinho a lot on the television and I tried to copy him all the time above all the way he looks to beat players. I also love Spanish football. They play attractive football, that is fast and with a lot of quality.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Coutinho’s answer was the same. “I learnt to do bicycle kicks watching Robinho on the television,” he replied. “I like a lot to watch Real Madrid and Barcelona which are my favourite teams in LaLiga.”
He added: “In the Spanish league there are the best players in the world like Robinho and Ronaldinho.”