Barca and Real in Neymar battle after Santos accept bids
Brazil’s Neymar is on the verge of choosing one of two offers from unnamed clubs, likely to be Spanish suitors Barcelona and Real Madrid, after Santos agreed on Friday to transfer him.
Santos made the announcement on the club’s official Twitter feed and said the 21-year-old player, Brazil’s big hope for next year’s World Cup finals on home soil, had the right to choose which offer to accept.
“In the face of the offers and the player’s contract, the management committee of the club decided to sell the player,” the statement said, without clarifying which clubs were invilved.
“We await Neymar and his father at the Vila Belmiro stadium to choose which proposal the athlete is going to accept.”
Neymar, who helped Santos win South America’s Copa Libertadores club title in 2011, was the only player not based in Europe among the 23 finalists for FIFA’s player of the year award in 2012.
Should Neymar go for the most likely option of moving to Barcelona, he will play alongside Argentine Lionel Messi, Golden Ball winner for the last four years.
The Spanish champions are looking to revamp their squad after what by their high standards is a slump during which they have been eliminated from the Champions League at the semi-final stage for the last two seasons.
Neymar has been a target of top European sides for at least three years, including Chelsea in 2010, but so far Santos had rejected all offers and improved his deal to stay at the club.
He said in November 2011 he had signed for Santos until after next year’s World Cup tournament but has often said he favoured a move to Barcelona.
He is expected to cost in the region of £40 million, and has been long linked with Barcelona.