Neymar to stay with Santos until 2014 World Cup
Neymar has agreed to a new contract with Santos that ties him to
the Brazilian club until the South American country hosts the 2014
Despite widespread rumors of a move to Real Madrid or Barcelona,
Neymar said Wednesday he made the decision to stay with Santos
because it’s where he believes he will be the happiest.
Brazil’s most promising young star in years, Neymar said the
contract will allow him to stay near his family and friends for as
long as possible.
”Here is where I’m happy and here is where I want to stay,” he
said at a news conference. ”I’ve always said that happiness would
play a significant role in my decision. It wasn’t an easy decision
but I’m happy here, with my family, my friends and my
The 19-year-old Neymar said that being near his baby also was
key. He is not married but became the father of a boy last
”It’s been a wonderful experience and I want to be here to see
my son grow up,” he said. ”I wouldn’t have a lot of contact with
him playing abroad. Santos fans have to thank him too for my
decision to stay.”
Wearing a jersey with the words, ”It’s good to be the king,”
Neymar said he is honored to be wanted by Real Madrid and Barcelona
but that it is just as important to be able to wear the famous
”I’m wearing the jersey that Pele wore and I’ll be playing in
some of the best tournaments in the world, like the Copa
Libertadores and the Club World Cup, which is what I always said
that I wanted to do,” Neymar said.
Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro said his club will never be
able to compete with offers from many European teams but that
Neymar will earn more money in the new deal.
”When we signed a contract last August, he was already an idol
and a notable player,” Ribeiro said. ”But when we discussed the
contract now, we are talking about a legend, so it’s natural that
we revised the financial details to make justice to what Neymar is
doing for Santos.”
There was also an increase in the buyout clause, but Ribeiro
wouldn’t disclose the new amount. It was worth ?45 million ($62
million) in the previous contract.
Ribeiro said he personally called the presidents of Madrid and
Barcelona to let them know that Neymar had reached the deal to stay
At the news conference in the coastal city of Santos, Ribeiro
gave the striker a jersey with the words ”Neymar Jr 2014.”
Neymar, who will be 22 by the World Cup, rejected an offer worth
millions from Chelsea last year and Ribeiro said other clubs that
had contacted Santos to show interest in signing the speedy striker
included Manchester City and Anzhi Makhachkala of Russia.
One of the 23 candidates in the running for the FIFA world
player of the year award, Neymar is expected to lead Brazil’s
attack at the World Cup.
He became well known after helping Santos win the traditional
Sao Paulo state championship and the Brazilian Cup last year.
Interest grew after playing well for Brazil, and he established
himself for good after leading Santos to the Copa Libertadores
title earlier this year.
Neymar became known as the ”New Robinho” – the skillful Brazil
striker he resembles – and now some fans are even saying that he
may eventually come close to the level of Pele, who led Santos to
its previous Copa Libertadores titles in 1962 and ’63.
He will be the team’s top star when Santos plays in FIFA’s Club
World Cup in December, a tournament in which Barcelona will also
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