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Transfer Rater: Walcott to Bournemouth

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Barcelona offered Vinicius Junior better package than Madrid - agent

An agent representing Real Madrid's new signing Vinicius Junior says Barcelona offered a better financial package to the player, but the youngster was more attracted by the football project outlined by Los Blancos.

Madrid announced this week that they had signed Vinicius, 16, from Flamengo, with the reported €45 million transfer effective in July 2018 when the Brazil youth international turns 18.

Barca had also been working on a deal for Vinicius, and reports in Spain have claimed Madrid gained "revenge" for losing out on Neymar back in 2015 by agreeing to pay "extras" of up to €17m divided among other various parties involved.

Frederico Pena, CEO of the TFM agency, formerly known as Traffic, told Globoesporte he was aware people thought the sums involved were "crazy" but money had not been the main motivating factor in choosing which club to join.

"There is practically unanimous view of the deal as a success," Pena said. "If anybody gets criticised it is Real Madrid, for the risk they have taken, but they are sure that it will work. There were other clubs interested, and one offered to pay more money ... Barca's remuneration package offer for the player was higher than Real Madrid.

"But as we had reached an agreement with Real, we did not want to make this last push for them to match it. That could have embittered the relationship. Many people think it is crazy what Madrid are doing, but they were not alone in this craziness. They were not the only ones willing to pay this much for Vinicius."

Vinicius Junior will join Real Madrid in July 2018 when he turns 18.

When asked why Vinicius himself had chosen Madrid over Barcelona, Pena added: "Because Vinicius liked Madrid's project better. There is always the feeling that players choose based on financial reasons, but that is not true. I assure you of that. Real Madrid's negotiating posture was better."

Pena also highlighted Madrid's recent record of incorporating young signings into their first team.

"We studied their history -- [Raphael] Varane, [Sergio] Ramos, Casemiro, [Marco] Asensio, Marcelo -- they all arrived before they were 22," he said. "Barcelona's history is of players coming through their youth system, who know the system of play at the club. Neymar was the exception. Recently they have signed Arda Turan at 28, [Jeremy] Mathieu 30, [Ivan] Rakitic 26. The oldest at Madrid was [Luka] Modric, at 25. People think of the era of [Zinedine] Zidane, Ronaldo and [Luis] Figo, but [Madrid's] policy has changed a lot in recent years."

Madrid's agreement with Flamengo allows for Vinicius to join in summer 2018, but Pena accepted that the date of arrival might change depending on circumstances.

"Of course," he said. "Madrid could bring in [Antoine] Griezmann or [Kylian] Mbappe in the next transfer window, and their attack would be blocked up. But you cannot predict the future. The decision has already been taken."

ESPN Brasil has reported that TFM is to receive €8m for its role in helping to manage Vinicius' affairs since he joined the agency aged 13.

Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan

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