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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

Brazil and Barcelona star Neymar has 'strong desire' to play for Flamengo

Brazil and Barcelona superstar Neymar has expressed "a strong desire" to play for Rio de Janeiro club Flamengo.

The former Santos forward won Copa Libertadores and Copa do Brasil titles during an ultra-successful spell at the Sao Paulo club before moving to Barca for €86 million in the summer of 2013.

Neymar led Brazil to their first-ever Olympic gold medal last summer, scoring a goal and converting the final penalty at historic Maracana Stadium where Flamengo have traditionally played their home games.

Flamengo, who have lost just one of their 18 matches this year, rose to the top of their Libertadores group with a 2-1 home victory over Atletico Paranaense on Wednesday. And speaking to Esporte Interativo, the 25-year-old revealed his dream to play for Brazil's most popular club.

"I have a strong desire to play for Flamengo, [at a] packed Maracana, [in the] Libertadores," said Neymar, whose recently signed deal with Barca runs until 2021.

The relationship between Neymar and Santos has been strained since the club asked FIFA to hand the Brazil No. 10 a six-month suspension for what they called non-compliance of contract terms during his transfer to Barcelona.

Unlike Pele, Robinho and other Santos greats, Neymar did not publicly congratulate the club on the occasion of their 105th anniversary on Friday, and he explained his decision on the program.

Neymar led Brazil to their first-ever gold medal last summer.

"I don't have an obligation to give my congratulations. I am grateful, I am thankful for everything they've done for me, I love and loved to play for Santos, my entire family are Santos supporters, I even turned into a Santos supporter, but I'm not obliged to do everything they wish," he said.

"I have enormous respect for Santos, everyone in my family are Santos supporters, only that also has a bad side. Santos entered the courts against us for something I still don't understand today.

"They said the only thing missing was if I scored an own-goal in the game against Barcelona [in the 2011 Club World Cup final]. There are details that nobody knows."

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