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Neymar hailed for Premier League snub

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Tim Vickery | 17:09 UK time, Sunday, 22 August 2010

Neymar saying no to Chelsea's millions and staying with Santos is being seen as a huge victory for Brazilian football.

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 SantosNeymar 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, 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?
Azubike Finecountry

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?
Ram Mamidanna

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.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Good blog Tim. That's my question from last week answered =)

  • Comment number 2.

    As a Chelsea fan I'm actually glad we didn't sign him. From the very little I've seen of him he looks nowhere near the finished product. Also we have our own young players, namely Kakuta who we'd like to see break through.
    I agree staying put is probably the best thing for his development too at only 18 years old. A first option deal would've be nice though. Ancellotti has a good record of nurturing young Brazilian talents and Chelsea would be a great place to start when he is ready.

  • Comment number 3. brazilian shirtname for your dog, "muttinho". Great blog, hälsa!

  • Comment number 4.

    Another excellent blog Tim.

    Good to see a promising youngster make the sensible choice.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm glad the Neymar business is over with and that he is staying at Santos. To make it in Europe at the top of global football as a young player requires a certain mentality, which very often seems to be lacking in Brazilian players. That's why I think it would've been a huge disaster for such a bright talent to leave so soon.
    Now, my question is on that other Santos-star: Paulo Henrique Ganso. He is undoubtedly attracting interest from the big European clubs, but I've heard Santos are offering him a new contract too. Any reports on whether he's likely to extend? I certainly hope he does.

  • Comment number 6.

    Understand your point Tim and agree that staying put is a good idea at this stage in his career.. by all accounts the guy hasnt said no to millions though as he is reportedly being rewarded by a fairly substantial amount for a young player..

  • Comment number 7.

    Tim I was just wondering, since his return from that awful accident last year, how has Diego Buonanotte been fairing? He is one of my favourite Argentine players who never seems to get much airing in the media over here due to his diminutive size, yet always seems such an exciting player such as in the Olympics when he played 30 minutes in the whole tournament yet scored a cracking freekick.

  • Comment number 8.

    As a Chelsea fan, I am of corse a little disappointed he didn't come to the Bridge but perhaps it was the correct decision for the lads development.

    I will say one thing, and I don't want to sound bitter, as I undrstand it Santos has more than tripled his weekly wages to reportedly £40,000 plus he will be earning extra dosh from sponsorship deals. So this may even equate to more than what Chelsea were offering (£55k apparently, before tax). Which makes a joke out of him saying "money can't bring you happiness" as he stands to earn a lot staying where he is. It seems an easy decision to make if Santos matched Chelsea's offer.

    I just hope that Santos haven't priced him out of a move to Europe in the future by putting a £37 million release clause in his contract and if he fails to cement his place in the Brazil team over the next fews years he may look back and see this as an opportunity missed.

  • Comment number 9.

    is there a chance that at some point in the future, the brazilian league will be seen as the worlds best and not only keep hold of the top brazilian players but will attract the best foreign stars ?
    Brazil's increasing economic strength could make this happen.
    They're are certainly enough big clubs in brazil...

    however, will the bosman ruling foreign player policy in europe and the champions league always make the big western european leagues more appealing ?

    there was a time when players from spain, for example, would go to argentina for better wages

  • Comment number 10.

    Fans and soccer watchers the world over forget how young some of these players like Neymar really are. Development of these youngsters must be paramount in the minds of these clubs, which European clubs don't always seem to give priority to.

    I could be wrong but the French or Spanish club have a better model, where players are loaned out more to relevant clubs, only returning at senior level as refined players. The English league might not offer Neymar a similar chance, especially a club like Chelsea not renown particularly for youth development.

    I wish soccer as a whole would just take some time out and sober up on expectations, allow time for a club and its players to build itself first. I also wish youth would be left to enjoy their youth while maturing into adulthood, instead of being pushed to their detriment.

    I feel this move is wise. South American clubs, on behalf of all clubs from the less developed world, must protect these youngsters, the money issues notwithstanding. Strengthening our youth today will make for better adults tomorrow. They're not just stars, but humans of a younger age. A sober thought there.

    All sports should adopt models like UCLA coach John Wooden, who emphasized character development over individual accolades. The team comes first, but after the individuals comprising it.

    As always Tim, a good read.

  • Comment number 11.

    What are your thoughts on Sandro, Spurs new signing from Brazil?

  • Comment number 12.

    As a Portsmouth fan, I'm really glad to hear Andres D'Alessandro is doing as well as we all knew he could, but inevitably sad that it couldn't have been over here. Personally, I didn't see any indication that he wasn't suited to the European (or at least English) game, although his stay was admittedly rather brief.

    At the end of his loan spell, the general understanding was that the player and club were both happy for him to sign for Pompey permanently but there was a great deal of complication with his agent (or agents). They refused to do a deal, wanting him to be paid far more than any other player here at that time.

    Tim, do you think that this kind of financial funny business could be a reason why we see many South American players fail? As you mention in the article, developing at a smaller club can be a very good thing but is this hindered by the desire of those behind the scenes to engineer a big payout too soon? Joining a Zaragoza squad that already included Pablo Aimar can surely not have been for entirely footballing reasons?

  • Comment number 13.

    I think the reason Chelsea were so persisitent in signing him was the new rule about the number of "home grown players", ie players who played between 18-21 are conmsidered to be home-grown. It is now going to seem even more advantageous to European clubs to sign players before they reach 19 years old. Do you think we will see bigger transfer fees to counteract the stronger domestic wages of Brazilian clubs in order to attract potential homegrown players?

  • Comment number 14.

    Tim, How much of a bearing if at all do you think Brazil hosting the 2014 World Cup had on young Neymar's decision to remain in his homeland a good while longer and do you think it could potentially influence him enough to see out at least four more seasons of his new five year contract to cement his place in the National side?

    Obviously Brazilian clubs can't yet compete with the wealthiest European counterparts yet in terms of wages but they are getting there and with the WC around the corner sponsors will focus even more on the country. The relatively small capacity Estádio Vila Belmiro is not one of the grounds hosting WC games though so will Santos be able to keep up with clubs that are involved or does the fact they wont have stadium building/renovating debts give them more of an advantage?

  • Comment number 15.

    Hi Tim,

    Interesting article but do you think that the timing of a move to a big club can really be a matter of luck? Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Man Utd at the age of 18 when he was still very raw and hadn't yet filled out physically. This was a massive step up in the standard of football as well as a complete cultural change, but I would argue that it was pivotal in making him the player he became.

    Similarly there are many cases (some that you have highlighted before) of players staying too long in South America and their development stalling as a result.

    While it can definitely be argued that this is a great move for the Brazilian league, surely it is far too early to say if Neymar has made the right decision. If Ronaldo had turned down Ferguson in 2003, he might not have got the opportunity to work with him again.

  • Comment number 16.

    Tim, a quick question for next week's blog, still on the Neymar subject. Would it be better for a young talented South American player to move to a latin country, given the similarities of Language, food, etc? My poin it, maybe it's too early for Neymar to move to Chelsea, but not for any Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or even French club. Let me know your thoughts.

  • Comment number 17.

    @16. Pedro

    I think you can safely remove Portuguese league from that equation, it doesn't have that buying power or wage structure to support coveted players like Neymar. If he was unknown to most of Europe then it would be a possibility.

    But true to say that there are many South Americans who use these leagues to jump higher and adapt to European football, Ramires is a good example. He wouldn't have got a work permition anyway in England that early so using Benfica was good for him, and the club too of course. because he's quality.

  • Comment number 18.

    This is a biased write up. How many players has said no to how many
    clubs over and over again and it has not been topical. santos , neymar
    its all about,s hatred of chelsea is too obvious.

  • Comment number 19.

    At the risk of sounding prejudiced, I worry about players who in this day and age expose themselves for too long to the lifestyle risks of being a sporting celebrity in Brazil or Africa.

    They run the gauntlet of any number of risks which could destroy their lives, from an increased risk of exposure to HIV to the risk of their loved ones being kidnapped for ransom.

    I wish Neymar well, but if I had been a family member advising him I would have advised him to get on the next plane to Benfica or FC Porto so that he could start his transition towards life in Europe with the relatively easy switch to another Lusophone country.

  • Comment number 20.

    The idea of Neymar staying for a few more years is a fantastic prospect. Perhaps we might see a return to more swashbuckling types of Brasilians which have been lacking from the game for a while.
    Plus it might enocourage others to follow suit, to temper the current haemorrhage of talent from South America to the subs benches of Europe's greedy teams.

  • Comment number 21.

    @12 Fuzzy Dunlop:

    D´Alessandro suffered the same thing in Brazil. When he signed for Inter (Internacional) he was hailed as a great player. What happened is that he NEVER really shone. Everybody could see he had the quality. But the quality would appear only sometimes. Sometimes he was even a liability. It would seem he was not interested. His mentality was not right.

    It seems that since the new coach Celso Roth took hold of Inter, after the uruguayan coach was fired in the middle of Libertadores, that the whole Inter squad got on track, and maybe specially D´Alessandro. Maybe he has had his longest spell of GOOD football since he signed for Inter, and thats probably the reason he was again called to the Argentine national squad.

    @14: most brazilian clubs wont spend money to renovate stadiums. Most stadiums being renovated or built for the World Cup are public stadiums, owned by state governments. The exceptions if Inter´s stadium in Porto Alegre (and Inter´s same city arch-rival, Grêmio, is also building a new stadium, so if Inter fails to renovate its stadium till the World Cup, Porto Alegre wont get out of the Cup), and Atletico Paranaense in Curitiba and São Paulo in São Paulo.

    But the situations in Curitiba and São Paulo are quite complicated. Atletico Paranaense has said they wont compromise their receipts only so their stadium would fit into FIFA´s ridiculous high standarts, so the Paraná State and Curitiba governments have been boiling their brains trying to think into ways to inject money into the private enterprise, without breaking any law, since getting the World Cup in Curitiba is very important for the city and state.

  • Comment number 22.

    Neymar, may be a good player but Chelsea can definitely do without him. We are already a good side. And will continue to be a good side. Tim don't sound as if Chelsea is a monsterous club which cannot take care and/or groom young talents into good quality players. Chelsea has done so with John Terry and others and are still doing so with many young talents from various countries and backgrounds.

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Tim,

    On your topic of Brazilian football's increasing economic hegemony in South America, Matías Defederico's move to Corinthians must make him one of the best young Argentinians to play in Brazil in recent times. How is he getting on so far Tim?


  • Comment number 24.

    I may sound contradictory as in the past I have said the way forward for the Brazilian League is for teams to hold on to the main players for longer, but on this occasion I felt Santos missed a good opportunity to sell. Let me explain:
    - Chelsea's offer (which I hear was around EUR30million) was higher than normal for a player still unproven in Europe - very rarely European teams risk paying that much (Robinho being a rare example, but he was slightly older and had already lead Santos to two Brazilian leagues). I think it might have been motivated by the homegrown players regulation meaning on that fact alone Neymar will devalue once he is not young enough for it in a few months.
    - Santos has not been able to hold on to other important players (such as Robinho, Andre and Wesley) - and to expect that Neymar on his own will carry the team specially if Ganso leaves is a bit of a tall order - though the Santos board declared that is exactly what they hope for when they renewed his contract. Not to mention what Tim has alluded to in his article - how are other players going to cope with one (unproven) team mate earning a lot more than the rest.
    - EUR30million would allow Santos to do a lot in the transfer market, if wisely spent (as Internacional does).

    I totally agree the best strategy is Internacional's one - cash in the opportunity to sell, and use the funds to keep a strong base team and invest on more home grown talent. To fend off really agressive bids such as Chelsea's is for me unwise at the current stage - but definitely not in the future when the Brazilian league becomes more solid on its base.

    Having said all that, and reiterating for me Santos is taking too much of a gamble, from Neymar's perspective, I think he chose well to stay, for all the reasons listed by Tim.

  • Comment number 25.

    Nice to see a player turn down the bright lights of European football in order to further personnel development. Neymar looks to have all the attributes to be a top player....let's hope he realises his potential.

  • Comment number 26.

    15. At 10:41am on 23 Aug 2010, alanpatrickobrien wrote:
    Hi Tim,

    Interesting article but do you think that the timing of a move to a big club can really be a matter of luck? Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Man Utd at the age of 18 when he was still very raw and hadn't yet filled out physically. This was a massive step up in the standard of football as well as a complete cultural change, but I would argue that it was pivotal in making him the player he became.

    Similarly there are many cases (some that you have highlighted before) of players staying too long in South America and their development stalling as a result.

    While it can definitely be argued that this is a great move for the Brazilian league, surely it is far too early to say if Neymar has made the right decision. If Ronaldo had turned down Ferguson in 2003, he might not have got the opportunity to work with him again.


    The difference is that Ferguson played Ronaldo. He had just sold David Beckham, he failed to sign Ronaldinho and there was a vacancy on the right hand side of midfield.

    Ronaldo was playing for Man Utd when he was 18 and both Ronaldo and Ferguson took a lot of criticism at first because Ronaldo was still raw. Surely you remember the 'Ronaldo is a one trick pony' stuff and people saying he had no end product, and criticising Ferguson for selling Beckham? Man Utd went three years without winning the title from 2003-2006.

    Chelsea wouldn't dare take such a risk with Neymar. Neymar is still raw and he would end up rotting on Chelsea's bench or stuck on loan at a club with no stake in him. At this stage, Neymar wouldn't play ahead of Drogba, Anelka, Malouda or Kalou so it makes sense that he should stya in Brazil and develop further before he comes to a league like the Premiership.

  • Comment number 27.

    #21 AcesHigh re: 'Most stadiums being renovated or built for the World Cup are public stadiums, owned by state governments'

    Big thanks for the very informed answer. Incredible statistic..are the Brazilian public happy to be bearing all those costs - how much is it all coming to; I suppose they see having the World Cup in their cities as a great boost to trade and tourism for future revenue in the longer term? Will these new stadia be home to Brazilian clubs post tournament and if so will they or the public get the gate receipts? Will it give them a competitive advantage over clubs like Neymar's Santos in keeping home-grown talent to be able to boast top-class facilities?

  • Comment number 28.

    #27 JoC I as a Brazilian am surely not happy to see public funds used in stadia. I point again to the need to strengthen the Brazilian league as a product - that would provide the financial logic for the private sector to invest in arenas that would after the WC still provide a revenue stream to justify the investment. But of course that was not in the minds of politicians and the FA when bidding for the WC, so what we can expect, unfortunately, is the Government indeed funding improvements in properties that belong to private entities (the clubs) or in public stadia that will become "white elephants". The Sao Paulo state and city administration, for one, is refusing to abide to FIFA and the FA and reiterates it will not invest on private stadia - so at this point it is still not confirmed which Sao Paulo stadium will host WC games.

    The host cities can surely benefit from the boost in public investment in infrastructure - mostly airports and in-city transport but I can't see what shining new stadia will help them with if there is no increase in the revenue generated by the Brazilian league after the WC.

  • Comment number 29.

    #22 and others - there is always a comment twisting the blogger's article towards an EPL perspective. I don't have a mandate to defend him but can we forget the English teams for a while? I reread what Tim wrote and honestly, had the bidder been Man Utd, Real Madrid or AC Milan, his article could very well be the same word for word, just replacing the word "Chelsea".

  • Comment number 30.

    He'll be a huge star when he does eventually come over to Europe. He's a classy little player, but one who from what i've seen, still needs overall improvement.

    Personally, i'm delighted he's staying at Santos. Going to Chelsea, as with many "Young-Prospects" careers, could be a potential disaster (Parker, Johnson, Wright-Phillips). Ancelotti isn't SAF, he won't play him week in, week out just because he thinks he'll make it. SAF (and it was pointed out above) stuck with Ronaldo when he had absolutely no end product, because he knew he could do it, and the fans knew SAF was right. I just can't see the Chelsea "fans" backing their gaffer up in a similar situation.

    Makes me glad of the fact no Brazlian can play outside Brazil until they reach the age of 18, otherwise European Clubs could pick them up much, much sooner and thus probably waste half the talent from the most successful nation on the Planet.

    Well done Neymar, a good footballing choice, for once . . .

  • Comment number 31.

    Consistently the most interesting and unique blog on the BBC Sport website! Thanks for another excellent article Tim

  • Comment number 32.

    Re No.5: Neymar's decision will undoubtedly have a strong influence over Ganso and it is nice to see Santos taking the initiative to automatically improve his contract too.
    Re No.10: nice observations Sam!

  • Comment number 33.

    Re No.9: Brazil has long been seen as a potential economic powerhouse, but has frequently managed to shoot itself in the foot just when it seemed to be finally realising that potential. The country certainly has the potential to become a major venue for domestic football and, as Tim pointed out, has already become a magnet for talent from other SAm countries, but it's all a question of economics and administration. If future governments continue to build on the stable foundations laid down in the early and mid-90s and administration continues to become more professional and competent, then the future does look quite rosy.

  • Comment number 34.

    Tim - I totally agree on D'Allesandro, awesome in Germany, could have been huge in England, and now has impressed in Brazil. 'Deft' is definitely the word, there's something about his ball control that i can't describe without using the 'magic' cliche.

    #15, 26, etc - Just not relevant. The Madeiran played for Sporting Lisbon, it all sounds like another attempt to divert the blog away from South American football.

    #19 - forget prejudice, think ignorance on a mammoth scale. either you're joking, and not very funny, or we have a bigger problem. Not everyone experiences a family kidnapping in Brazil (or Africa as you strangely throw in) and HIV certainly isn't airborne!

  • Comment number 35.

    #29 I agree totally - this has nothing to do with Chelsea per se it is the argument that players often leave South America (not just Brazil) too early and often without even testing themselves in the Copa Libertadores the principal continental competition.

    Santos won't win the Copa Libertadores though - Cerro Porteño all the way!!!

  • Comment number 36.

    Re No.16: while a move to a Latin country facilitates the adaptation to Europe, in terms of language, climate, food, culture, etc, the fact is that Neymar was not ready to move, either in terms of his football evolution or emotional maturity. He will benefit hugely from this decision he has wisely made and when he does eventually make that move, he will be ready for it. Of course, there are no guarantees - look at the example of Ronaldinho Gaúcho, who brought joy back into the game when he went to Barcelona, but he couldn't sustain that when he lost his own joy in playing the game. Hopefully he will recapture that, in the same way that Robinho has.

  • Comment number 37.

    22- Aristo

    John Terry as an example of a youth player who's career you've progressed?? Well yeah, but who else?? And how many overseas players???

    I would point at the example of Franco di Santo - very promising talent, Chelsea bought him, have loaned him out and appear to have stalled a very promising career that would have benefitted from the player staying in his own country.

  • Comment number 38.

    Re No.24: point taken Alex, but I think you have to look at the Santos board's decision in the context of the club, which has an unhealthy tradition of selling off winning teams. The loss of their two key players would bring all the administration's ambitious plans for the club crashing down, as they would be unable to sustain the momentum on the pitch. In the current environment, it is unrealistic to try and hold onto all the players. André has been replaced by K9 and Wesley - who will be sorely missed, imo - by Possebon, which should enable them to keep the rhythm going through next year's Libertadores campaign.

  • Comment number 39.

    Re No.26: excellent points very well put!

  • Comment number 40.

    #38 BLRBrazil - I understand your reasoning, but at what price? If the offer had been for, say, EUR10 million, fine. But EUR30million is a lot and I really think they should accept it on the spot. Big chance they will sell him anyway in two or three years for a lot less - especially if all this success that the board and the fans expect does not come, which is, I am afraid, a huge possibility.

    Also, I have been unimpressed with the triumphant, 'patriotic', totally OTT mode that some Santos supporters, along with the Brazilian press, have treated this issue. I would like to see a lot of more common sense and recognition that it hardly signals the 'rebirth' of the Brazilian teams (v. their European rivals).

  • Comment number 41.

    I found this great. Neymar must improve his game, what is natural considering his age. Mainly, he needs to grow mentally; Brazilian players are very imature at this age, much more than expected, believe me. I personally believe that a move to a top European club right now would be very very risky. There's not to do with with potential: he's not ready, just that.

    I watched lots of Santos matches this years, even not being a Santos fan, and lots of friends of mine are doing the same. Their styleis really pleasant to watch, and Neymar and Ganso are really special players. Neymar is probably the most talented player that appeared here since Ronaldinho Gaúcho. He has some of Robinho's and Ronaldinho's skills, and also Ronaldo's coolness in front of goal (I now, it's early to say, but just to give an idea).

    It will be nice to have Neymar, Ganso and Keirrison (good young strikerm that went too early to Europe also) at Santos. The most of the benefits of Neymar's decision will be seen in te Seleção, believe me. The talent is there: we just need to prepare them better than what's been made recently, and not to waste their talent.

  • Comment number 42.

    Re No.40: you may be right Alex, and only time will tell (football involves so many risk factors), but I do think the decision was in the player's best interest. If he continues to evolve the way he has since last year he will become a very good player before he goes to Europe - he's not there yet. Then the clubs will be lining up to buy him, and hopefully Santos will have reaped huge benefits from having him stay longer.

  • Comment number 43.

    Re 41, BLRBrazil, my opinion is, as yours, that Neymar himself made the right move. I am questioning Santos's strategy. Their decision does not need to be in the player's best interest, it needs to be in the club's best interest.

  • Comment number 44.

    @18 "bbc,s hatred of chelsea is too obvious."

    Please tell me that was a joke. Please!

  • Comment number 45.

    #43 yes that is true but....

    Neymar has signed a new contract with a min. fee release clause of e45m - he scored and set one up against Mineiro and obviously feels loved at Santos. Had they accepted the bid and the player failed to agree terms then you may not have the same happy Neymar, and unified side, as Santos have right now.

  • Comment number 46.

    Failed to agree terms with Chelsea?? Rest assured these had been agreed long before the bid was forwarded to Santos. The offer was encouraged and much welcomed by Neymar's representatives so now he can feel Santos 'love' every month when R$500 mil are deposited in his account.

  • Comment number 47.

    to non Portuguese speakers - when I said R$500mil I meant 500thousand, not million.

  • Comment number 48.

    As usual,a pleasant article to read.

    I have a question,TIM.I never saw GANSO.What type of player is he?Is he an attacking midfielder or CENTRAL MIDFIELDER?Does he possess the passing ability of FABREGAS,SCHOLES or XAVI?Does he have the calibre to replace PAUL SCHOLES if is ever bought by MAN UTD?

  • Comment number 49.

    Good article, head and shoulders above anything else on the BBC. That's not saying much, but still...

  • Comment number 50.

    #46 - To explain more fully, what I meant is - if Santos had accepted the bid then it had fallen through, Neymar may not be as motivated to succeed at Santos.

    As it stands, the club have made a stance that sends a message to Neymar that he is wanted, and highly valued, and he has already responded with a good performance.

    More goals, assists, and trickery will make his value go up, not down, and Santos can lift trophies in the process.

  • Comment number 51.

    Dr. Wang, a utopic aspiration. Neymar can do all the trickery he wants, playing for Santos his valuation will never go higher than Chelsea was willing to pay at this moment.

    It all of a sudden seems 30million is a casual amount that European clubs are willing to offer to any good prospect. It is not. It is in fact an extremely generous offer(Man Utd paid £24 million for Rooney at a similar age, Ozil was just sold to Madrid for about EUR15million). Even if there are cases of players such as Ronaldo, Kaka, Torres etc being valued at gigantic sums, they are all stars that have proven their worth at the CL and at Europe's most profitable leagues. Deluded Brazilian supporters can have all the tantrums they want, European clubs will simply not pay over the odds for a player that has only performed in the South AMerican leagues. So the 45m price tag Santos has slapped on him is as good as nothing.

  • Comment number 52.

    I am a Chelsea fan, we don't need a player with a "double mind", he might lost the team's spirit, Robinho is a good example, why come to Europe and play for the best teams (Real City) and go back to your local league? I can't do that unless I am old enough like "Deco & Beletti), which was not a bad decision... you can stay Neymar.... we are watching you closely....

  • Comment number 53.

    Great stuff. The analysis of internacional is spot on, and comparing the models with santos, where they can have help from media to make those contracts and keep neymar, Its seems to me that internacional is the future of our league.

    The libertadores final exposed our media and how they work. Despite being in the most important game of south america all the attention was in rio and sao paulo, specially santos those last weeks. The other brazlian clubs from other federations can't emulate that santos deal cause they wont have the benefits of using the media as a secure investment since no matter how good or bad neymar perfomers he will get his prime time and his sponsor will be satisfied. on the other hand, looking for info on internacional clash against chivas in the 'national media' i could only see interviews with players from rio and sao paulo talking about the game with, OF COURSE, their sponsors panels at the back ground.

    See fluminse/unimed, vasco/eletrobras (an infamous sponsor deal from a state company that has no need whatsoever to spend 14 millions on marketing), flamengo, botafogo, and etc, they have their secure place in national media, no matter how bad or good they perform.

    Neymar staying is a victorie of small portion of our football, the one that controls it. Internacional is the real deal. Its revelant a comparison with atletico mineiro, two teams that since the beggining of brazilian league were the main rivals of the most popular teams, consistently reaching finals, and without media coverage. Inter struggled in the late 90's early 00's, atletico is now struglling this decade after almost snatching two titles in late 90's. Maybe inter is the best club to produce talent this decade, while atletico, once the greatest winner of 'Taça sao paulo futebol junior' (sub20 cup), has only revealed gilberto silva worth mentioning, actually from america youth system.

    What i dont like about those actions to keep a player here, specially needing the market side to back it up is that a bunch load of bad refeering start happening on the behalf of the said team, that happened with corinthians/hicksmuse 98/99, that happened corinthians/msi/tevez 2005, also this year in the paulista final and just this weekend, after neymar made the contract, a really bad decision gave them a winning goal in a difficult game. A coincidence that started in 1980 with flamengo and zico and still shows its strengh.

  • Comment number 54.

    Be a good idea to BAN the transfer of players under 21 years old.

    If their clubs release them, they can move on - for no money. Otherwise they should stay where they are until 21.

  • Comment number 55.

    Alex - Maybe they won't get e30m again, but I like the model because Neymar is nearly irreplaceable for Santos. At what price does winning the Brazilian national championship come in at?

    If they win lots, Neymar plays well and stars for the national side, I can't see his value going down that much. The club's best interest that you speak off - is it to win trophies or make money? Or are the two interlinked?

    Of course e30m is a lot of money, and yes it is a similar situation to Rooney, who also would still have commanded a huge fee if he had succeeded at Everton for one more season. Santos have more chances to win tournaments than Everton and so Neymar is worth more to them.

    Ozil - last year of his contract, a snip of his real value, signing of the summer, but not comparable to Neymar.

  • Comment number 56.

    Tim your Brasil bias is incredible.Ok so Internacional won the Libertadores to narrow the gap to Argentina22 Brasil 14.Well done and they are a decent team who I expect will win the World club title if they hold on to most of their best players.But the fact is they were blessed to beat Estudiantes in the quarter final.You are also getting very excited by a few Argentines going to Brasilian clubs.But the fact is more foreign players come to Argentinas primera than the Brasileiro.Does any Brasilian player earn as much as Riquelme?
    As for the high profile Argentinas such as Conca star of Flu he couldnt get a game at River he wasnt good enough nor was Guiñazu good enough for any of Argentinas big five.
    Ok so the Real has revaued but name me the Brasilian club who can attract 60000 fans to a game against small opposition as River did against Tigre or can Vasco repeat their huge crowd yesterday in their next home game as River did v Independiente
    Brasilian clubs and their media always talk a good game but mostly as history as proven Argentina with a fifth of the population are different class
    Anyway as for the money aspect Argentina tv deal is alos growing quickly as is the economy at faster rate than our giant oh so jealous neighbour

  • Comment number 57.

    Re No.56: I didn't notice Tim criticising Argentina, or any other SAm country for that matter. He simply pointed out the number of Argentine players plying their trade in Brazil. It's a growing trend, and from your comments I must presume that it's because football in Argentina is so fantastically good that they just can't get a game there and are forced to emigrate. Lucky you :o)

  • Comment number 58.

    Can you see the day when even some BIG South American sides become feeder clubs for their richer European countparts?

    Whether it would be leagal or not, I doubt that any of the super rich owners would struggle to find a way around any rules that are already in place, so wouldn't it be a sensible idea for all clubs involved, they could even claim it was a 'partnership' just to appease those in power.

  • Comment number 59.

    chelsea is lucky not to spend so much on a player considered not good enough for the world cup.he could easily turn out worst than robinho

  • Comment number 60.

    How much of this decision was made by Neymar himself, or his club?

    The arrival of Tevez and Maschero in England seemed to be almost entirely at the whim of their agent Kia Joorabchian, or at least that is how I understood the story from the UK media who also reported that such contracts were quite normal in south america.

    Does Neymar have a similar contractual arrangement with his agent, and might the agent have decided to wait until the right price is offered (and in the meantime has he used Chelsea as bargaining chip to extract a pay rise from the club)?

  • Comment number 61.

    its all about money.pure and simple.

  • Comment number 62.

    Really good idea; it would make sure the big clubs in Europe (and other clubs) would not have it all their own way. They would have to develop their own players- credit to the ones who do already though.

  • Comment number 63.

    yeah nice idea except it would be illegal, an adult is free to accept a offer of contract and move accordingly, dependent on visas etc...

  • Comment number 64.

    Congratulations about the article, great as you commonly does.
    But Tim you wrote: "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....
    I think that if somebody is great...well than it´s great...the fact that many people do not know Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci,Isaac Newton has not made them less brilliant...just make this people less wise..if a guy is a great player..than it is a great player and that,s all...George Best has never been in a World Cup...I have never seen him playing a match...well Poor Me !...poor World Cup !!...He was still George Best...He was still great...the same apply to any player anywhere...Zaire League..Premier League...Brazilian League...Wherever !

  • Comment number 65.

    igbogili - Neymar is 18!!!! 18!!!! "Not considered good enough" is absolute nonsense, he is the most promising youngster in world football. He didn't go to the World Cup because Dunga is a pragmatist and he's still very young - his quality has never been in doubt.

    moreno - Why is that as soon as Tim makes reference to Brazil, all you Argentines throw your arms up in the air and accuse him of bias?? Where exactly is the bias in the article?? And if Tim makes reference to recent domination of the Copa Libertadores by Brazilian clubs he's only reporting on *facts* ---- last six finals, eight finalists have come from Brazil, only two from Argentina. That's very conclusive.

  • Comment number 66.

    30. At 2:31pm on 23 Aug 2010, 1967 - The Year Gods Were Born - Paradise Is East wrote:

    He'll be a huge star when he does eventually come over to Europe. He's a classy little player, but one who from what i've seen, still needs overall improvement.

    Personally, i'm delighted he's staying at Santos. Going to Chelsea, as with many "Young-Prospects" careers, could be a potential disaster (Parker, Johnson, Wright-Phillips). Ancelotti isn't SAF, he won't play him week in, week out just because he thinks he'll make it. SAF (and it was pointed out above) stuck with Ronaldo when he had absolutely no end product, because he knew he could do it, and the fans knew SAF was right. I just can't see the Chelsea "fans" backing their gaffer up in a similar situation.


    What a load of verbal vomit if I ever saw or heard any.

    And I guess Sir Aley Ferguson was able to stick with and nuture the talents of Anderson (touted as the next Ronaldinho), Kleberson (the best midfielder in Brazil circa 2002), Djemba Djemba (an upcoming African talent), David Bellion (a player with promise). Pls don't make me laugh. Everyone knows that once you sign a player young or established, several factors go into play in determining the success of that signing as a star player or a flop. Man management is key but not the only determinant, as players get disillusioned by weather, footballing reasons, tactics, culture, relationship with fans and team-mates. You go on like Chelsea has not nutured and helped young talents become world class or better players. Terry and Lampard are good examples, but what about Kalou? Ever improving. What has SWP done since his move to Man City; even Wayne Bridge was better off at Chelsea. Gallas played his best football at Chelsea, and Cech was a virtual unknown when we bought him.

    I get the feeling that some opposition fans didn't want Chelsea to get Neymar becos Neymar is exactly the type of player we need; a flair player who can bring something special to compliment our workrate. I daresay that if Neymar had signed, along with Ramires, chelsea would ve been near invinsible. I am not too bothered as Kakuta is a supreme talent and is already in European football and will be one of the best players in Europe soon. Neymar was too much of a gamble at 24m or whatever amount was bandied about. Personally I believe Chelsea would be better off signing the likes of Aguero.

    In all this, it seems to be ignored that had Neymar signed, he would have been under the tutelage of Ancelotti who has signed and nutured young Brazilian talent in the past in Kaka and Pato. Chelsea also has a Brazilian player in Alex and Ramires who would have helped Neymar settle, as well as Portuguese speaking players li
    ke Ferriera. Santos would have pocketted cash too

  • Comment number 67.

    I wouldnt say he turned down Chelsea he was pressured to say no with the Santos Bandwagon Pele and Robinho who choose the wrong club and was greedy! Santos don't care about the boy at all they are just after the $$$ and have acheived that with the new contract.

    He wont develop into a better player in Brazil, it's a weak league now as any decent Brazilian moves elsewhere just the likes of Deco and Belleti go back to see there last years out and retire.

    With Ancelotti Chelsea are a different kettle of fish, he is starting to bring on younger players at Chelsea and if they are good enough they will get a chance.

    Maybe Neymar should have spoken to Pato rather than the people that only care about the money

  • Comment number 68.

    57 I didnt say Tim criticized any other South American country he just eggaterates Brasils importance.Hes trying to tell us we have reached a stage of Brasilain dominance in the Copa Libertadores when Argentina has 22 titles to Brasils 14 and in the last decade Argentine clubs have won 5 titles to Brasils 2 while Colombia,Ecuador and Paraguay won one each.
    This is merely a situtation of the guy living in Rio and beleiveing the local bulls....
    65 what are you on about in the last decade as I have said Argentine clubs have won 5 thats right five Libertadores titles to Brasils 2 thats right 2.You guys can beleive all the Globo claptrap you want but Argentine clubs dominate the Libertadores a fact accepted all over America where Portuguese isnt spoken.
    This is all in a decade where our big clubs have never been in a more dificult situation challenged by extremely well run small clubs ensureing our Primera is the Worlds most competitive.
    Tim is being seduced by a certain amount of noeveau riche Cariocas who are getting very excited by enganches from Rivers reserves

  • Comment number 69.

    Ordinarily I would agree with you Tim but in this case I feel Santos, along with other parties, are guilty of holding a young man back.

    Chelsea Football Club are hardly famous for a flourishing youth academy but I can see this changing over the next few years as Carlo Ancelotti takes further responsibility of the club's operations. Younger players are getting more of a look in and I think Neymar in particular could have really benefited from this, not to mention Ancelotti has a track record of developing Brazilians into world class players.

    Neymar had the opportunity to play with one of the best strike forces in the world; he could have gained invaluable experience playing alongside the likes of Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka, whilst also benefiting from the likes of Frank Lampard, Florent Malouda, Michael Essien, etc. To put it simply, he could have joined one of the best teams in the world and played with some of the best senior players in the world.

    A lot of people have stated that he is not the finished article and I wholeheartedly agree with this. But on the other hand, neither are Daniel Sturridge, Gael Kakuta, Patrick van Aanholt, etc and these are the players who are beginning to get a run at Chelsea. Ancelotti is an intelligent, well-informed man and he would be fully aware of Neymar's level of ability and stage of development. So I don't see this "finished article" business being an issue. Plenty of players move to bigger clubs prior to them reaching their respective potential. If they didn't, what would be the point of scouting and signing younger players?

    I feel that Santos, along with the Brazilian National Coach (whose name escapes me) and Pele are all responsible for not only impeding a young man's development, but also his career. He will move eventually and I don't see what benefit could possibly exist in playing another year in a League that is inferior to European Leagues.

  • Comment number 70.

    Great article, especially the stuff on Internacional ––– One of the Uruguayan players you are referring to is Gonzalo Sorondo who played in the EPL (Charlton Athletic & Crystal Palace) –– a tall defender who I always thought should have played for a big team in Europe especially after that 2002 World Cup match against France. Internacional's success though is a vindication that Celso Roth is not a bad coach, I felt he got blamed at Atletico Mineiro for all the wrong reasons, looking at them now even with Diego Tardelli and Diego Souza, their defense has gotten worse (not entirely Fabian Carini's fault) and proves my theory that Vanderlei Luxemburgo is a horrible coach at any level!

  • Comment number 71.

    If I was the decision-maker at Chelsea, I would've moved to sign him but with a clause to loan him back for two years to Santos. This way, Chelsea could've guaranteed his services in the future, but maintained his development in his home country. He could even have gone on pre-season tours with Chelsea between seasons to get experience of his future club.

    Very short-sighted Chelsea.

  • Comment number 72.

    Lot of meat on the bone this week Tim.. Good Blog.
    When I moved here I choose Santos as my team, before arriving (Pele`s Ghost my friends call the estrangeiros desire to follow Santos). I liked teams who pasted and my visits had not adhered me to the SP teams and my research put me off the Rio teams too.
    I was immediately happy watching Robinho and Co, but saddened when I saw how much the teams changed all the time. I am pleased Nymar has stayed of course (I`m a UTD fan too!) but also for him. Utd learnt a lesson with the young Kleberson and have recruited differently, from Brazil.
    I am suprised Possebon came to Santos I thought he was heading to Portugal, but he could bring much to the Santos team and equally develop here.
    Your spot on with International and that would be my second team here in brazil solely for the manner in which the club and team approach the game. Incidentally they have a wonderful community and youth programme that far extends beyond football in Port Alegre.
    Football has certainly improved too since the REAL began bringing some stars back to Brazil.

  • Comment number 73.

    @68 "... in the last decade as I have said Argentine clubs have won 5 thats right five Libertadores titles to Brasils 2 thats right 2..."

    No, that's wrong, Brazilian clubs have won it 3 times in the last decade, just check your wiki stats.

    In any case, it is little wonder that Argentinian/Brazilian clubs win the Copa considering the ridiculous number of spots they both get for the tournament. From wiki:

    The defending champions
    The Copa Sudamericana champions
    5 from Argentina and Brazil
    and 3 from each of the other countries.

    Considering the high proportion of Argentina/Brazil clubs, the defending champions will likely come from one of them as well. The Copa Sudamericana Champions will also more than likely be from Argentina/Brazil considering they get 14 spots (8 for Brazil, 6 for Argentina) for that tournament, with other countries getting only 3 representatives (again from Wiki)

    I know this glut of teams is all due to financial reasons (just like in European competitions) but from a footballing perspective I miss the time when only the champions and runners up from each country competed in the Copa, at least they were more deserving.

  • Comment number 74.

    68, MOreno; "57 I didnt say Tim criticized any other South American country he just eggaterates Brasils importance.Hes trying to tell us we have reached a stage of Brasilain dominance in the Copa Libertadores when Argentina has 22 titles to Brasils 14 and in the last decade Argentine clubs have won 5 titles to Brasils 2 while Colombia,Ecuador and Paraguay won one each."

    But he's right, you have reached an era of Brazilian dominance, Brazilian clubs have produced eight finalists to Argentina's two in the last six years - if that doesn't suggest "an era of Brazilian dominance" then what does?!?!?!? It also helps to get your facts right when offering a counter-argument too, otherwise people treat your argument as invalid.

  • Comment number 75.

    Lets look at the last decades champions the noughties as you say
    2000 Boca Juniors
    2001 Boca Juniors
    2002 Olimpia
    2003 Boca Juniors
    2004 Once Caldas
    2005 Sao Paolo
    2006 Internacional
    2007 Boca Juniors
    2008 Liga De Quito
    2009 Estudiantes

    As far as I can see thats 5 Argentine victories in the last decade ok so Inter won a few days ago so you can argue its 4-3 over tha actual last 10 years but in Argentinas favour.Tims argument as to why Brasilian clubs will dominate is based on their clubs now earning more money than anyone else.Its a dubious argument as Argentinas clubs are now also growing quickly.Its also a useless one as the clubs who will earn the most money in Brasil are the Carioca and Paulista giants.
    There are three mega cities in South America.Rio,Sao Paolo and Buenos Aires.Lets look at their Libertadores records.
    Rio has produced the astonishing number of two thats 2 Libertadores winners in 50 years.Flamengo and Vasco with a title each and nothing for Botafogo or Fluminense.
    Sao Paolo has done a little better if you include Santos in their stats(another dubious one as BA doesnt include La Plata nearer to Argentinas capital).Sao Paolo 3 Santos 2 and Palmeiras 1 gives the continents biggest city six wins in 50 years.Nothing for Corinthians and all the money.
    Buenos Aires excludeing La Plata however has 18 wins 7 Independiente 6 Boca 2 River 1 each to Racing,Argentinos and Velez
    The real danger to Argentinas DOMINANCE has really been Brasils provincial clubs(forgetting Montevideo for a moment) Gremio,Cruzeiro,Internacional clubs who will never have more money than our big clubs but who are better run and whose players have the cojones for a Libertadores win

  • Comment number 76.

    Moreno - eight vs two in terms of finalists in the last six years, that is VERY conclusive evidence of Brazilian DOMINANCE. Yo say "let's look at the major cities" - very compelling argument given that that immediately elimates the likes of Cruzeiro, Internacional and Gremio, all of whom have more than decent records in the Copa Libertadores.

    You are looking at things through blue and white tinted glasses, whereas I'm a neutral in all this.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think this business of signing the right player is about choosing the right club. If Ronaldo had not moved to United when he did, he would not have become who he came today. His interaction with Sir Alex and Carrington made him stronger. Also Messi at Barcelona, meaning the two best players in the world both moved at a young age. Is it an advantage or not?

  • Comment number 78.

    Exactly 77, it’s about more than the player’s age – it’s about his attitude, his maturity, the club he is going to, the country is coming from and to. Too often, South American club’s financial needs and agent’s greed sees these players going to Europe too soon. Whereas it’s too much to state this case alone as evidence of the tide turning, it is certainly a step in the right direction. Chelsea have so many superstars that there simply wouldn’t have been the space for him to develop just yet. Some will point at the loan system but that didn’t help Franco di Santo or Kerrison – let the boy grow as a person first.

  • Comment number 79.

    @69: you make some persuasive arguments, which I respect, but don't forget that Santos have already qualified for next year's Libertadores, and while it's not the same standard as the Champions League, I'm certain that Internacional will present a serious challenge to Inter Milan in the World Club final. And if you look at Spurs' example, they're getting a much more mature Sandro on the back of that campaign than if they'd taken him a year ago and then lent him out to a Championship side to get 'English' experience.

  • Comment number 80.

    In contrast, @73, your arguments do not hold - on that basis, Europe would have won every World Cup. It's not the numbers that count, as football is club vs club (barring outside political influence), and if the top 3 teams from any given country can't give a good account of themselves, why do you think that, by adding more teams, they'd stand more chance?

  • Comment number 81.

    Moreno, your indignation and insistence on proving Tim's Brazilian bias with phony arguments smacks of a complex of inferiority.

    You are the one with a problem, mate.

  • Comment number 82.

    Neymar's a talent in the waiting and it's a great decision from him to reject Chelsea [maybe Deco and Belletti had a word with him?] and stay in Brazil for the time being - here's hoping they can hang onto Paulo Henrique for another season or two for him to mature.

    However, from the Santos director's reaction, with one hand he was upset with the blues bid but was welcoming bids with the other [can't mind the direct quote].

    @7 Buonaotte's been doing ok since he returned in April, but he's short of form and it looks like it may take him a long while to recover fully.


  • Comment number 83.

    #48 - I believe Tim has already made a good picture of Ganso. He looks like an old fashioned central midfielder, that distributes the game, and sometimes bursts into the box. He doesn't has much of Fabregas' pace, but could be compared with. I'd say he could be a left footed Zidane.

    #42 - Santos propably wont receive such a big bid for Neymar, so for the club there's a great risk involved;it was already too much money. However, we can't forget we're dealing with human beings, not with iron ore and fruits. This guy is too young to receive such pressure in his life. Many others have failed before him, we know that.

  • Comment number 84.

    If he stays relatively injury free then i don't there's even the remotest chance of Neymar staying til the end of his contract. I'd give it til he's 21 at the latest, then he'll be off. Wasn't that the age Kaka disappeared off to Milan?

  • Comment number 85.

    now who is exploiting who ,this kid wanted out but the football gulacks in brazil are holding him to maximized their profits .he is not and will unlikely not be better than the bebetos ,ronaldos, kakas,robinhos ronnies etc from brazil, As for chelsea 6 goal a go ,my tribe the fulani says to chew stones is to frightene groundnut ,

    iliyasu umar jalingo ng

  • Comment number 86.

    I think that this is an excellent article and is really fitting with the times. Brazil is becoming a global leader due to its economic growth and its great to see that Tim is embracing a part of this through football. I don't think that we have enough articles that go beyond the borders of the EU. I'd be keen on seeing Tim pick up an article or two on Mexico's re-ignition in the world of football and the emergence of China, a country which has an enormous potential and football is only a flash in the pan.
    Though one criticism of the article is the spelling, please proof read otherwise great article! Keep 'em coming!

  • Comment number 87.

    Bruno Cesar of Corinthians is meant to be the next big thing to out off Brazil, anyone seen him play or got any info on him?

  • Comment number 88.

    About 87.
    Stevie, He is midfielder with a very accurate kick, skilfull, capable of organizing the team and also score, he is not as fast as Neymar but is moves himself a lot during the game, phisically is not tall or strong but deals fine with that, phisically reminds me of Carlos Tevez. In my opinion a very good player but needs time to prove he can keep his game at the level he is playing now, since that's the first season in a top brazilian club, so far he is doing great.

  • Comment number 89.

    @80 "...on that basis, Europe would have won every World Cup. It's not the numbers that count, as football is club vs club (barring outside political influence), and if the top 3 teams from any given country can't give a good account of themselves, why do you think that, by adding more teams, they'd stand more chance?"

    The comparison with national teams is not valid because until relatively recently, the number of teams capable of winning the WC was the same from each continent (Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Germany), the rest was just there to make up the numbers.

    As far as South American club football is concerned, all countries should have the same number of representatives. In the current format, a non-Brazilian/Argentinian club may have to play and beat the top 5/6 teams from each Brazil and/or Argentina to win the tournament which is ridiculous.

    Of course the numbers matter, it's simple maths, the more teams a country has, the more chances to win it.

    Sure, other countries may come up with good teams that may be able to beat a Brazilian/Argentinian team, but they may have to do that repeatedly due to the sheer number of teams those countries are allowed, so sooner or later they may have an off day when facing the next Brazilian/Argentinian team in line and would be eliminated.

    Going back to your World Cup analogy, imagine your team beats Brazil (if you're english just suspend your disbelief, it's just an illustration, enjoy it) Would you think it fair if your team had to play Brazil again and again in the same tournament?, especially after having beaten them? Something similar happens in the Copa and the Sudamericana.

    Unfortunately, the business side of things has taken over and now we have this tournament full of teams that haven't won a local league in decades, if ever, just to keep the sponsors happy.

  • Comment number 90.

    this article is a joke.

  • Comment number 91.

    #26 Subterranean

    I take your point completely, but my main argument was that time will tell if this is a good decision for Neymar. You can pick many examples of players who moved too young as well as players who stayed too long. The only reason I picked Ronaldo is because he was only 18 at the time. I accept that Utd were re-building but you must also accept that Chelsea aren't getting any younger, to use a football cliché! Somebody is going to have to break into the team.

    #34 Dr Wang

    I'm well aware of who he played for. But he was an 18 year old moving to the Premiership from a foreign league with arguably a lower standard of football (please let nobody abuse me for that comment). There aren't too many South Americans who went to England at that age so it's hard to pull an example from there. I wasn't trying to divert the conversation anywhere!

    #90 Double_2010
    Why do people make comments liek that every week just because they think the article is anti-their team? Pathetic.

  • Comment number 92.

    European clubs are traffickers of south american youth they promise them the whole money in the world and then they find themselves trapped in a hole, then end up going loaned out somewhere in the lower divisions, European clubs just want to develop youth so they can become a marketing asset in the future its what happened with robinho and other braziilians who have fallen in the trap of the fake glories of european football.

  • Comment number 93.

    Neymar seems younger than his age and appears almost naive in the sheer pleasure he gets playing alongside his pals at Santos. I doubt if he would enjoy the same solidarity from his teammates and the fans at Chelsea. I think this would detract from his performance.

    The Brazilian media portays him as a rather simple boy from a humble background and President Lula has praised him for staying but I can´t see him remaining with Santos for much longer.

    I wonder if I might use this post to raise a question about another South American player, Carlos Tevez. Can you or anyone else enlighten me on why Mancini has made Tevez captain in the last two games even though he doesn´t speak English?

    I was also surprised to hear Alex Ferguson complaining that Nani and not Giggs took the (missed) penalty against Fulham. Don´t teams have a ranking of "dedicated" penalty takers?

  • Comment number 94.

    As a Santos-supporting expat here in Brazil, am glad Neymar will stay - not just through self interest, but actual concern about him...
    He is a great talent but very immature. As various others have said, I would be very worried about how he would cope, especially in a massive team like Chelsea where he won't play regular first team football as he is acustomed to here, and he won't receive the pampering he gets over here - in many respects he is a bit like Robinho who needs to be pampered. Also, completely agree with #93 in regard to the family-like environment of Santos vs the egos of Chelsea/EPL. Also, Santos is one of the best teams in Brazil for developing youngsters who have, unfortunately, gone off to European teams very early and have not really succeeded as well as they could have; fading into obscurity.
    I think with a bit more time, he will be much better and a better buy for whoever gets him. At the moment, I feel that he struggles under pressure: there were loads of expectations placed on him last season and he didn't play brilliantly. Also, he goes down very easily and a bit like C. Ronaldo in the early days, often tries far too much trickery for his own good, crying to the ref all too often (and EPL refs are certainly much less sympathetic than Brazilian refs).
    This season with Robinho at Santos during the Paulistano state championship, taking away a lot of the attention from Neymar, he has performed much better. Now with Robinho gone, he (and Ganso who would be a much better buy for any European club right now - but this is a different story...) has a chance to get used to that pressure, being one of the two main stars of the Santos side - especially with the Libertadores coming up and with it now seeming that he will make more appearances for the Brazilian national squard. Certainly appreciate what #69 says regarding the opportunity to play with even better players - but Brazilian football isn't all that bad (though I do admitedly prefer Premier League/European) and he is still learning and will continue to learn.
    (Also, with #69, I think it is unfair putting the blame on others in his decision. His decision was his. If he wanted to leave Santos, then he would have. Indeed, if you say that the blame should be placed with others if he really wanted to go, then you are highlighting his immaturity by letting others dissuade him from doing this).
    Will look forward to seeing him in Europe though in a couple of years as, no, I doubt that he will wait much longer before finally accepting - definitely very proud that yet another world class player grew up at Santos.

  • Comment number 95.

    Very smart move, Chelsea would have burned his career to ashes before it even started. When he does make the jump to Europe, it will most likely be in Spain, France, or Italy, possibly Portugal.

  • Comment number 96.

    Plus someone brought up Cristiano Ronaldo as an example. Cristiano was in a different situation at 18 than Neymar is now. Cristiano already HAD what it took to play in any big team in Europe, where as with Neymar, it's only speculation. Cristiano, despite what people in England will tell you, did not develop his game in England, he had the skills long before he was picked up by Man U. Hence why he completely had his way in the friendly 3-1 victory for Sporting after which the United fans asked Fergie to sign him. He received direction in Man U., built his strength, and matured. Neymar I believe would take a step back if he were to move to Chelsea, or any English team really, because he wouldn't start on Chelsea, and the Premier League just isn't the right fit for a south american player of his age.

  • Comment number 97.

    Great blog Tim,

    Ive just signed on for the first time, after reading your stories all this time, and just have to say... Has anyone told you, you bear a canny resemblance to Matt Le Tissier??!

    Carry on the good work! :-)

  • Comment number 98.

    @94: welcome to the gang Benjo!

  • Comment number 99.

    74/6There is nothing conclusive about Tims argument and as you seem to be heading towards the insulting in this the proof will be in the next five years.Ok so Brasil have had more semi finalists but Argentina has had more winners so lets see what happens, nothing conclusive YET
    81 so you are neutral mate cheers for you.I dont have any problem merely argueing what I consider a sound case.If you dont like it fine but thankfully its a free World

  • Comment number 100.

    let me say am disappointed with Chelsea.If they wanted this kind so much,why dint they buy him and then loan him back to Santos?


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