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Jun 30, 2011

Neymar 'chooses Real Madrid'

Neymar is said to have chosen to join Real Madrid ahead of Chelsea and Barcelona but Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro remains hopeful of retaining the player until at least 2012.

Five clubs meet Neymar clause
Neymar targeting Santos glory

Ribeiro revealed this week that five clubs - said to be Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Manchester City and Anzhi Makhachkala - had agreed to meet Neymar's €45 million release clause but said he was confident Neymar would stay on.

Ribeiro has now suggested that Inter Milan may be among the clubs showing an interest in Neymar, but it appears the player has decided on a move to the Bernabeu. Marca claims the 19-year-old has told Brazil team-mate Dani Alves at the Copa America: "I don't know anything about Barcelona. I will play for Madrid next season."

Ribeiro, though, still believes Neymar will stay put until the conclusion of December's Club World Cup tournament in Japan and told RAC1: "Barcelona, Real Madrid, Inter Milan - all the big clubs are interested in Neymar because he is an exceptional player, but my intention is that he will stay with us at least until we meet Barcelona in the final.

"We don't want to lose him until the centenary [Santos were founded in April 1912] but it all depends on him, on what he wants to do. Remember that there is a release clause in his contract."

He added: "It's obvious given all the interest that the release clause is small in comparison to the player's true value."

Ribiero confirmed he has held conversations with both Barca president Sandro Rosell and Madrid counterpart Florentino Perez.

"I asked Sandro not to make contact with Neymar or his father before the Copa Libertadores final, but then I had to tell him to make his move because the other European clubs were already moving," he said. "Sandro is a gentleman, very friendly, a great professional and a great president.

"I spoke to Florentino directly and Real Madrid expressed an interest in the player. That's public."

Santos coach Muricy Ramalho had earlier said that Neymar would be making a mistake if he were to play under Jose Mourinho.

"He's a top star, a player who can improvise," Ramalho said. "You never know what he's going to do - he's unpredictable. Mourinho, though, is very tactics-based - focusing on not letting opponents play and closing the space. I have doubts about how well it would work out with Real Madrid."

He added: "Imagine Messi and Neymar together..."

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