Despite the obvious interest from pretty much every big club in Europe and especially and most recently Barcelona, with their vice president talking about the likelihood of Barca making a move towards Neymar, the Brazilian star, according to Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Neymar, who is having quite a terrific time with the Brazilian Olympic team in London, winning their first three matches and looking like frontrunners to win gold, the first time in the nation’s history, is valued to be worth about a £60 million bid, at least by Santos. Last year a €40 million offer from Real Madrid wasn’t enough to tempt Santos into selling.
According to Ribeiro, Neymar isn’t going to leave the club as long as he has a contract, which runs out in 2014. It is impossible for Neymar to leave Santos before 2014. When I sign a contract I fulfil it, and the player wants to do the same. I do not think of a player as a product, but as a human being. What Neymar generates for Santos over all the years he is here would more than compensate for him leaving for free. Neymar is happy here, and we will not give up persuading him to stay. Neymar will be in charge of his own future in 2014.
It’s not at all certain that Neymar will earn more when he comes to play for one of the European giants. Santos hardly pay him any wages at all – Most of his salary comes from the third side ownership, a sporting company, along with sponsor support and even government funding which boost Neymar’s salary to around €1.5 million per month. Brazilian football is making it quite lucrative for the young stars to stay. Also knowing that playing in Brazil, never losing their spot with their clubs might be better than taking a risk and failing in Europe with the 2014 World Cup coming nearer and nearer.
As far as Ribiero is concerned, Neymar is just as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the popular opinion, by far, for the two best players in the world. Neymar is a phenomenon and I am sure that this year, with his displays at the Olympic Games, he will take his place among the three best players in the world. We are not going to give him up.
Maybe it’s true, who are we to argue? What we do know is that this isn’t the 1960’s, when Pele could spend most of his career with Santos and be regarded as the best of the world. If Neymar is to prove that he’s just as good as today’s greats, he needs to show it while playing for a European club in the Champions League. Unless he’ll do something truly incredible in the world cup, but I don’t think it’ll benefit him as a player and Brazil as a team if he remains with Santos for another year.