The long-awaited bidding war for Neymar‘s services is over before it even started. The Brazilian phenom will join Barcelona in 2014, and the Spanish club has already paid Santos some of the transfer fee, according to Sport360.
“According to several reliable sources Barca have already paid a quarter [€14.5 million or $19.2 million] of the €58 million [$76.7 million] to Santos to guarantee the transfer of the player,” Sport 360 reports Cadena SER radio claimed, “adding that the date for his transfer was after the World Cup in Brazil in 2014.”
The 20-year-old is widely recognized as the best player to be playing outside of Europe. In 2011, he lead Santos to the Copa Libertadores crown, and won the FIFA Goal of the Year award. 2012 has brought more of the same, as he scored a hat-trick in Libertadores action earlier this month. The second goal he scored that day brought the world to its feet.
Neymar has also been a regular for Brazil’s national team since he made his debut in 2010. He has played 16 times for his country, and scored eight goals.
He has been linked with moves to Real Madrid and Chelsea FC in the last year, but it looks like Barcelona will be the starting point of his adventures in European soccer.
It’s scary to think about him lining up alongside Lionel Messi, who will be 27 — at the peak of his powers — when the 2014-15 season kicks off.