Neymar is the Brazilian phenom that any European soccer club would love to have, but few can afford. Amidst speculation regarding his future, the president of his club says he won’t be going anywhere until after the 2014 FIFA World Cup, according to FIFA.com.
“The odds on Neymar leaving before 2014 are the same as zero,” FIFA.com reports Luis Alvaro de Oliveira told Ona FM. “I also hope that the player continues after 2014. We are going to compete with Barça [FC Barcelona] and with Real [Madrid] at the end of the player’s contract to keep him in Brazil for longer.”
The 20-year-old has quickly become a superstar in his country, and many think he is ready to make the jump to one of Europe’s top leagues. In March, it was reported that Barcelona made a down-payment on a €58 million ($76.7 million) transfer, but de Oliveira shot down the rumor.
“It’s not certain that if Neymar leaves Santos that he is only going to go to Barça. What’s certain is that he is staying until 2014. After, the only decision will come from the player. I hope to compete with all those interested.”
Brazil’s booming economy has allowed clubs like Santos to hold onto their best players for longer than they would have in years past. Neymar signed a new deal last November, which pays him as much as most top European clubs would pay a player his age. It expires in 2014, but Oliveira hopes he can convince the Brazilian international to stay on even longer.
“The player is very happy in Brazil and at Santos. I hope to win the heart of the player once again.”
If and when Neymar finally moves to Europe, he will do so with years of professional seasoning and little left to achieve at home. The challange may push him to shine brighter than any of the Brazilian stars who have graced European soccer in the past or present.