Transfer news

Neymar sends mixed messages

March 31, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

Santos starlet Neymar is not ruling out a move to Europe but has now stressed that he is happy in Brazil.

Neymar
GettyImagesNeymar: Currently playing in the Copa Libertadores final for the Brazilian club

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• Blog: Never loved Brazil

Chelsea saw a bid rejected for Neymar, 19, last summer, but they retain an interest in the forward and he revealed in a television interview this week that he would welcome a move to Stamford Bridge. However, he has sent out mixed messages and, having previously talked up a move to Juventus, he has now said he wants to stay in Brazil for the time being.

"The future belongs to God and nobody knows what tomorrow will bring, but I have a contract with Santos," he told a press conference in Brazil. "I'm happy and I want to stay.

"Happiness is everything. If you're unhappy, you don't stay, and when God gives me the feeling in my heart that it's time to go there [to Europe], I will go. Right now, my family and I are happy here. This is my country."

Neymar, who has also attracted the interest of both Manchester clubs, remained in London for a day after his brace secured a 2-0 victory for Brazil against Scotland in a friendly at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

"It was a wonderful day," he said. "Everyone met up and I spent the day with my family. I had a quiet walk around the city. I didn't want to stay there. I'm happy at Santos and in Brazil and hopefully I'll be staying for a long time."

Neymar had dinner in London with agent Pini Zahavi, who works closely with Chelsea and is a friend of Sir Alex Ferguson, but the player insisted it was simply because he works with his Brazilian agent, Wagner Ribeiro.

"He [Zahavi] has worked with Wagner and [the dinner meeting] was not linked to Chelsea," Neymar said. "We were in his town and we went to dinner with my family, but it wasn't anything to do with business matters."

Barcelona have also had scouts looking at Neymar and the forward said he would think about a move to the Camp Nou if a bid came in. He said: "Everyone wants to play for Barcelona, and I do as well, but these things have to be carefully considered."

Meanwhile, Neymar was at the centre of alleged racism when he was booed by Scotland fans during Sunday's friendly, while one supporter threw a banana onto the field.

However, a spokesman for the Tartan Army insisted the boos in his direction were based entirely on his perceived playacting, and a German tourist admitted throwing the banana but dismissed claims it was racially-motivated.

"Only he knows whether it was malicious or not," Neymar said. "Everyone was sad, but I didn't care - I was happy because I'd scored two goals, and we were playing well. That incident doesn't take away from our great performance."