Neymar says he did not feel comfortable when he had a trial at Real Madrid at the age of 13 and was not ready to move to Europe at that time.
The Brazil forward, now playing for Barcelona, visited the Santiago Bernabeu club for a spell back in 2005, but eventually opted to remain with Santos for a further eight years before joining Madrid's arch rivals at Camp Nou.
Neymar, now 24, feels he simply was not ready to move to a new continent at such a young age.
He told L'Equipe: "I was 13, it was the first time I came to Europe. At that time, I did not feel comfortable, I did not see myself happy and able to stay away from Brazil so young.
"I did not feel it and I was not in a hurry - there was no emergency. The priority was that I was happy, that I become a professional footballer and then I could come to play in Europe."
In three years at Barca, Neymar has won two LaLiga titles, the Champions League, two Copas del Rey and the Club World Cup.