Neymar agrees to five-year deal with Barcelona

Sao Paulo, May 26 (IANS) Brazil’s football star Neymar has agreed to a five-year contract with Spanish giants Barcelona and will join the club during this summer’s European transfer window.

The 21-year-old is expected to announce the move after playing his final match for Santos in Brazil’s Serie A championship against Flamengo Sunday, reports Xinhua.

“Neymar has listened to his heart and made a decision,” the striker’s father Neymar da Silva Santos said Saturday night. “The time has come for him to play in Europe.”

Barcelona is understood to have committed to a 35 million-euro transfer fee, 55 percent of which will go to Santos and the remainder to investment companies DIS (40 percent) and Terceira Estrela Investimentos (5 percent).

The decision ends two years of speculation surrounding Neymar’s future. In addition to the Camp Nou, reports have linked him to Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus.

Santos released a statement Friday night saying the club had accepted offers from Real Madrid and Barcelona, allowing Neymar to choose between the Spanish rivals.

Real Madrid reportedly offered Neymar a salary of 11 million euros a year, four million euros more than Barcelona. But Neymar’s father said he had elected the club that was best for him.

“He has chosen a team that suits his style. I’m not going to say who it is now because he wants to make the announcement to the Santos fans. He owes them that and he will be letting them know Sunday. Santos officially received offers from six European clubs, “but he only wanted to know about Real Madrid and Barcelona,” Neymar Snr said.

Neymar, is considered the man who will carry the hopes of a football-obsessed nation during next year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Since breaking into Santos’ first team in 2009, he has led the club made famous by Pele to the 2010 Brazilian Cup, 2011 Copa Libertadores and three straight Sao Paulo state championships.

He is the club’s highest scorer in the post Pele era with 138 goals in 229 matches.

Despite declining to speak to the media, Neymar was in a jovial mood Saturday as he filmed his last Santos training session with his mobile phone and laughed with teammates.

Afterwards he wrote a message on the club’s dressing room wall that read: “I’m going but I will be back.”

He then travelled by helicopter to the coastal town of Caraguatatuba for the wedding of his close friend and Brazil international teammate Paulo Henrique Ganso.

Neymar will officially join Barcelona in July following the FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil from June 15-30.

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