Dani Alves has once again stated that he believes the time has come for his Brazil team-mate Neymar to make the move to Europe.
Santos starlet Neymar has long been linked with a big-money transfer across the Atlantic, with Alves' club Barcelona as well as Real Madrid, Chelsea and Bayern Munich among the top teams reportedly interested in offering him a bigger stage on which to show his talents.
The youngster's performance in Brazil’s 2-2 friendly draw with Italy in Geneva on Thursday, where he was centrally involved in both of his side’s goals, will also likely have impressed any watching European scouts. Speaking after also having played against Italy,
Alves told Catalan radio station RAC 1 that perhaps the time had come for his team-mate to put an end to all the speculation, which even he has found a bit too much at times.
"Brazil has become really too small for Neymar, he must make the jump to Europe,” the Barcelona right-back said. “I will not say any more about this as it is a subject which is now annoying and boring. Everyone asks me about his future, he knows what he has to do, and those who represent him know it too. I am just saying that his future is in Europe, and that whatever he does he will do well, because I appreciate him a lot and I will always support him."
Alves suggested that his own club would be an ideal place for Neymar, who turned 21 last February, to test himself in Europe.
"Neymar is not a promising talent, he is a reality,” he said. “If he wants to go to a big team he should only look at the achievements of Barca in recent years.”
Brazil assistant coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has a different view from Alves, however. The World Cup 1994-winning coach told reporters in Geneva that Neymar would be better served by remaining at Santos and preparing there for next year's finals on home soil.
“He should not leave Brazil until the World Cup is over,” Parreira said. “Then, he needs to go to Europe."