Santos: Neymar staying until 2014
Brazil star Neymar will not move to Europe until at least 2014, according to Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro.
Persistent rumours have suggested that Neymar, currently starring at the Olympics, has already agreed to join Barcelona by next summer at the latest. However, Ribeiro predicted that the £60 million-rated player would not leave Santos before his contract ends in two years time.
"It is impossible for Neymar to leave Santos before 2014," Ribeiro told Catalan sports daily Mundo Deportivo. "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."
Neymar, 20, has been outstanding for Brazil at the Olympics, scoring twice and also providing a spectacular assist for Chelsea new boy Oscar in the 3-1 victory over Belarus as his side breezed through the group stages.
Ribeiro said these performances showed Neymar was already reaching the level of Barca's Lionel Messi and Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
"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," he said. "We are not going to give him up."
Until recently, Brazilian players approaching this level were quick to move to Europe to increase their wages. However, this situation is changing quickly. According to one of the UK's leading football agents, support from sponsors and government bodies boosts Neymar's monthly wage packet to €1.5 million net, while a raft of endorsements push his earnings even higher.
Ribeiro told European clubs they needed to accept that Brazilian clubs could now afford to keep their stars at home.
"In Europe, they have to understand that there is another world on the other side of the Atlantic," he said. "Our economy is growing, which is not happening in Europe.
"For example, [Diego] Forlan has just moved to Brazil from Inter, and [Clarence] Seedorf from Milan. It is not like in the past. Today, we are leaders. Neymar earns now in Brazil the same as he would in Europe."