Barcelona – Brazil star Neymar is to stay with Santos in his homeland until at least after the 2014 Fifa World Cup, according to his father Neymar da Silva.
Neymar senior said his son did want to play in Europe to further his career development but told Barcelona-based Sport daily yesterday: “This is what he wants (but) he will do it in 2014.”
He added that was why his son’s Santos contract had been shortened from 2015 to 2014 to allow him to showcase his talents through to the World Cup on home soil as a home-grown star.
Even so, his father warned that “if Neymar is not happy” or Santos found that it would be better to sell him on financial grounds then that could conceivably be an option.
Were that to transpire, then the 20-year-old forward is set to head off to the Spanish La Liga with FC Barcelona.
“Barça, of course. Barcelona’s football is similar to that of Neymar, isn’t that so?” said Neymar senior.
Even so, while admitting to early contacts with the Catalan club, he conceded that “it could be Barça will not want him in 2014”.
Barça’s Brazilian connections stretching back across the decades could play a part in Neymar’s future destination as “Neymar has his idols and it is normal that he would want to triumph where Romario or Ronaldo (played)”.
Brazil is hoping the nation’s growing emergence as a world power could allow Neymar to feel he can stay at home for now at least rather than follow the well-trodden path to Europe.
“Neymar has broken the mould of Brazilian footballers who left to pursue the best financial offer without taking their own personal situation into account,” said Neymar da Silva.
Neymar has already turned down one chance of a move to Europe – rejecting a €36 million (R404 million at today’s exchange) move to the champions of Europe, Chelsea, two seasons ago and his father said his son was only thinking about his development as a player.
“Neymar needs to grow and mature. Many (players) left and suffered abroad. What Neymar loves is to play football. We will do everything as well as possible to ensure he plays until he is 35.”
Sport yesterday quoted the player as saying he would see out his contract until 2014, insisting he is happy with Pelé’s old club Santos, and only then think about whether a move to Europe would be in his interests.