Photo: Brazilian Striker Neymar
Brazilian striker Neymar signed a deal last week with FC Barcelona committing him to join the club after representing his country in this summer’s FIFA Confederations Cup, Rio daily O Globo reported Tuesday.
The 21-year-old Santos FC player, considered the latest in a long line of Brazilian soccer phenoms, had put off making the move to Europe but has now signed an agreement requiring him to join the Spanish powerhouse in July, according to sources close to the player cited by O Globo.
The daily reported that this Sunday’s Brazilian league game between Santos and Flamingo could be Neymar’s last appearance with the club, where he has spent his entire senior career and become a star.
The Confederations Cup will be held in Brazil from June 15-30.
The forward said recently that he had no immediate plans to leave Brazil, but Santos manager Muricy Ramalho and club directors have acknowledged that Neymar’s future is in Spain.
“We wanted him to stay at the club until (the World Cup in Brazil in) 2014, but it’s difficult. Soccer is a business in which the law of the market prevails,” Santos Vice President Odilio Rodrigues was quoted as saying by O Globo.
Brazilian national team manager Luiz Felipe Scolari also has said he considers Neymar’s move to Europe a done deal.
“Neymar will be a great signing for Barcelona. He’ll be a huge idol along with (four-time world player of the year Lionel) Messi,” he said Sunday in Spain.
Although O Globo did not provide any contract terms, other Brazilian media outlets reported that Santos eventually agreed to release Neymar from his deal after Barça boosted its buy-out offer from 14 million euros ($18 million) to 17.5 million euros ($22.5 million).
Neymar’s contract buyout clause is set at 65 million euros ($84 million), but Santos would lose all economic rights to the player if the talks were delayed until next year and he chose not to resign with the Brazilian club.
According to O Globo, public confirmation of the deal may come on Wednesday after Santos’ directors analyze Barça’s latest offer.