Neymar hailed for Premier League snub
This might be going just a little too far but more than anything else, it is a victory for common sense.
The 18-year-old is a magnificent prospect. He is sleek and skilful, able to beat the defender on either side, capable of combining well, and full of tricks he can put to productive use in and around the penalty area.
He is a goalscorer and goal maker but he is still raw.
The competitions in which he has shone - the Sao Paulo State Championship and the Brazilian Cup - are not top quality and he still has to fill out physically.
Most Brazilians who have done well in Europe have had a spell with a smaller club before moving on to a giant.
Neymar has signed a five-year deal at Santos
Going straight to Chelsea at this stage presents an obvious risk - he could struggle to adapt, have little playing time, find himself loaned out to a club with no stake in his development. Plenty of careers have run aground on these rocks.
Staying with Santos means that he plays in the 2011 Copa Libertadores, South America's equivalent of the Champions League, and continues a step-by-step development until, as a footballer and as a man, he is ready for Europe.
This is the point. Some have tried to portray his decision to stay as a glorious act of patriotism.
In fact he was sorely tempted, but was persuaded - in my opinion in his best interests - that not going now will improve his chances of success when he does go.
A key part of his career plan is to shine in European club football, and it could hardly be different.
The global market was set up for business in the 1980s and the floodgates opened at the end of the 90s.
Many in South America will resent it, some may seek to deny it, but in this century (though not before) it is not possible to be considered truly great without making an impact in Europe - no one is more aware of this than the players.
Neymar's agent Wagner Ribeiro says that the player will likely be sold in two or three years, which seems a realistic timescale.
Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro is in danger of giving the fans false hopes if he tells them that Neymar will stay to the end of his new five-year contract.
One of the most important figures in Brazilian football would surely agree.
"We never surprise our supporters," is the view of Fernando Carvalho, director of
Internacional, crowned as champions of the Libertadores last Wednesday.
"The worst thing is when you say you're not going to sell your star player and then you do. From the start we make it clear that we'll be selling."
Carvalho is the key figure in the transformation of the club from relegation candidates to kings of the continent, winners of Brazil's last two Libertadores titles and world champions in 2006.
First as president, now as director in charge of football, he has been behind the implementation of a model of administration well adapted to contemporary realities.
Freedom of contract and the pull of the global market make it impossible to hold on to top players - so instead aim to produce them, keep them for two or three years, sell them and use the proceeds to improve the club structure and maintain a competitive squad.
For example, striker Alexandre Pato brought money into the club coffers when he signed for Milan. Midfielder Sandro now does the same joining Tottenham.
Inter's model was strongly influenced by that of Argentina's Boca Juniors, who won the Libertadores four times between 2000 and 2007.
Boca's run of success came to an end when, under new administration, they strayed from their model. After a successful loan spell they re-signed playmaker Juan Roman Riquelme.
This conflicted with their guiding philosophy - that team spirit would inevitably suffer from the presence of a big name earning much more than the others - a problem that Santos may now have to deal with. Boca did not even qualify for the 2010 Libertadores.
It is surely significant, then, that the two most successful clubs this century in the Libertadores have done it while using the same idea.
Models need to develop with the changing times, though, and it is clear that Internacional's version has suffered a tweak.
Four years ago Carvalho told me that "there are three types of player we are interested in; Brazilians returning from Europe, perhaps because their move did not work out; reasonable players in domestic football who are not stars buy who can fulfil their potential when placed in the right context; and home-produced players."
For the 2010 version he can add another category - players from elsewhere in South America.
At the heart of the midfield, the current team's strongest area, are two excellent Argentines, Pablo Guinazu and Andres D'Alessandro.There are Argentine and Uruguayan internationals on the subs bench. Meanwhile, there are no high profile Brazilians in Argentina.
This is a consequence of the fact that Brazilian clubs can pay far higher wages than elsewhere on the continent.
The Brazilian currency has gained massively in strength. The good economic moment brings another Brazilian strength into play - the sheer size of the country.
Only a tiny proportion of them come through the turnstiles, but the big Brazilian clubs count their supporters in the millions, making them attractive to sponsors who want to reach this mass market.
These developments, coupled with the increased professionalism of the clubs' marketing operations, explain how Santos have been able to hold on to Neymar - for now.
The balance is shifting but it is not a revolutionary moment.
The big name stars will still go to Europe although they might initially stay in Brazil for longer which is surely a positive thing.
Sooner or later Neymar will be looking to shine in the Champions League in Europe. But everybody wins from the fact that first he has a chance to make his mark on the Copa Libertadores.
Comments on the piece in the space below. Questions on South American football to firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.
From last week's postbag:
Q) Who do you think has been the best player in this year's Copa Libertadores?
A) I have been impressed with the deft touches of Andres D'Alessandro I will pick him as my best player, he seems to have found his form again. I enjoyed the way he caressed the ball with Portsmouth (on loan).
Q) Do you think D'Alessandro will go back to Europe?
A) Just recalled to the Argentina squad. He is 29 now, so maybe a bit old for another crack at Europe - he's being linked with a move to the Arab world.
He had a good tournament, though he is still nowhere near fulfilling the hopes I had of him. He did not score in the campaign - which highlights the fact that, though he dictates the rhythm well, he is nowhere near as decisive in the final 30m as he once promised to be.
But my player of the tournament has to be Giuliano. A fantastic little midfield talent, only 20-years-old, who keeps getting better and better.
He spent most of the knockout rounds on the bench, only to come on and keep scoring vital goals. His goal on Wednesday was a jewel of technique and daring - and he's not even primarily a goalscorer.
Q) I am a Man United fan, and one thing about the club surprises me - the continuity of its manager - the great Sir Alex...which leads to my question...are there instances of one man reigning a club in South America?
A) One which springs to mind is Noel Sanvicente at Caracas in Venezuela, who was in charge for eight years until he stood down a few months ago.
Such longevity is very rare here. Two years is usually seen as a marathon spell. A lot of this has to do with the endless selling. Results inevitably suffer when you are continually saying goodbye to your best players - and then 'sack the coach' is the first cry that goes up.