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Five European clubs say they want Neymar, says Santos President

Santos’ president says five European clubs have contacted him to try to sign young Brazil striker Neymar.

AP, Tuesday 28 Jun 2011
Santos forward Neymar

Luis Alvaro Ribeiro said late Monday that Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City and Anzhi Makhachkala of Russia are willing to pay the ?45 million ($64 million) buyout clause in Neymar’s contract. The president told the website he has authorized them to contact the player’s representatives to start negotiating.

“They will contact the player and will make their offer, but I’m still hopeful that Neymar will decline them,” Ribeiro said. “It wouldn’t be a good thing for him to leave now. The 2014 World Cup will be here, all eyes will be on Brazil. He can become an idol and move to Europe with a consolidated image.”

Ribeiro did not give more details on the European clubs’ offers, but said the 19-year-old striker wouldn’t be losing too much financially by staying close to his family until his Santos contract expires after the 2014 World Cup.

Neymar has said recently that he is happy in Brazil and that it is extremely important for him to be near his friends and relatives.

“He earns a lot of money already,” said Ribeiro, who uses several marketing actions to keep the player’s salary competitive even to European standards. “There is no reason for him to leave now.”

Ribeiro said this time the European clubs did the right thing by contacting Santos before going to the player’s representatives. He said last year Chelsea went straight to Neymar to make a ?35 million that was eventually rejected by the player. At the time, Santos made an official complaint to FIFA.

Neymar is touted as a future star of the national team and is expected to lead Brazil to the title when it hosts the World Cup three years from now.

He is in Argentina with Brazil, preparing for the Copa America starting on Friday.

Last week, he helped Santos win its third Copa Libertadores title, the team’s first in Latin America’s most important club competition since the Pele era in the 1960s.

If he stays, he will have a chance to play with the Brazilian club in FIFA’s Club World Cup in December. Barcelona has also qualified as European champion.

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