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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
May 25, 2013

Barcelona confirm Neymar signing

Barcelona have confirmed the capture of highly-rated Brazil starlet Neymar on a five-year contract.

Neymar has been linked to some of Europe's biggest clubs - including Real Madrid and Bayern Munich - in recent years, but declared his preference was to remain with Santos in his homeland until after the 2014 World Cup.

However, Santos announced on Friday evening that they had accepted two offers, allowing the 21-year-old to complete his move to Europe.

Barcelona followed in the early hours of Sunday morning with the announcement of Neymar's signing.

A club statement read: "FC Barcelona and Santos have agreed to terms for Neymar da Silva Santos Junior. The Brazilian forward will don the Blaugrana strip for the next five seasons. The 21-year old is one of the most promising footballers on the planet."

Neymar also confirmed his decision, writing on Instagram: "I'm here with friends and family and they have helped me to write a few things here. I'm not going to hold out until Monday. My family and friends already know my decision. On Monday I will sign a contract with Barcelona."

The 21-year-old's contract at Santos was due to expire at the end of next season and some reports had suggested an agreement with Barcelona was reached as much as a year ago. Now the move has been confirmed.

Neymar wrote: "I want to thank the fans of Santos for these incredible nine years. My feeling for the club and the fans will never change. It is eternal!

"Only a club like Santos FC could give me everything I have experienced on and off the field. I thank the wonderful fans who supported me even in the most difficult moments.

"Titles, goals, dribbling, celebrations and songs that fans created for me will be forever in my heart..."

Neymar 's Santos farewell will come during Sunday's season-opening game against Flamengo.

"I made sure I could play the match tomorrow in Brasilia," he said. "I want to have the opportunity to once again take the field and hear the crowd scream my name...

"It is a strange time for me, sad (farewell) and happy (new challenge). May God bless me in my choices... And I'm always a Santos fan!"

Santos, meanwhile, said they made every effort to keep hold of the player for the season.

A club statement read: "The management committee of Santos FC announces that it has received notification from the athlete Neymar Jr advising that he has decided to accept the proposal of Barcelona. The transfer of playmaker to the Spanish team will be sealed in the coming days.

"After refusing offers of many millions for Neymar Jr since mid-2010, and implemented a career plan that allowed his historic stay in Brazil for several years, bucking the trend of Brazilian football to quickly sell its greatest talents, Santos FC finally agreed to sell.

"Every effort was made to keep him in Brazil as long as possible, even offering to renew the current contract, which ended in July 2014. At this time, however, it was not possible to compete with the terms offered from abroad, which affected the decision of the player to review his professional life.

"Due to the confidentiality agreement, and by mutual agreement, the terms of the transfer will not be disclosed by any of the parties.''

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.
 

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