• Celtic boss Rodgers served as Chelsea's head youth coach between 2004 and 2008.
  • The Scottish champions take on Neymar and Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday evening.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says both Neymar and Philippe Coutinho were on Chelsea's radar before becoming global superstars.

The Scottish champions have the unenviable task of trying to contain the front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani when they welcome Paris Saint-Germain to Parkhead on Tuesday (12 November).

It will be the Brazil international's first appearance in the Champions League for his new club following a £198m transfer from Barcelona that made him the most expensive player on the planet.

Liverpool playmaker Coutinho was also nearly the subject of a nine-figure transfer fee with Barcelona targeting the 25-year-old to try and help fill the void left by Neymar's move to the French capital – only for the Merseyside club to reject all three offers from the Nou Camp. Liverpool value the player at £180m, according to the Barcelona hierarchy.

Both players were at one time two of the most sought-after youngsters to emerge from Brazil before developing into the household names they are now and Chelsea were among the clubs who were looking to get in on the ground floor, according to Rodgers.

The Bhoys manager served as Chelsea's head youth coach between 2004 and 2008, recalling when his current recruitment chief Lee Congerton spotted both players before they had even made their professional debuts in Brazil while serving as the Premier League side's chief scout.

"When we were at Chelsea we were aware of Neymar and Coutinho," Rodgers was quoted as saying by the Scottish Sun. "Lee came back from a trip and mentioned them. Neymar was in the first teams young, he wanted to stay in Brazil before moving.

"He had everything. He is like a motorbike, he is so fast and balanced, left foot, right foot, I love his hunger. He is a worker. He's come out of the shadows a bit and obviously felt like he wanted to be the main man at PSG. Neymar is a massive talent."

Neymar was on the score sheet when Barcelona put seven past Celtic in their Champions League group stage clash last season and has a spectacular record against the Scottish giants; four games, four goals and six assists.

Philippe Coutinho and Neymar
Chelsea spotted both players as teenagers, says Rodgers. Getty