A view from Santos: Why Neymar is staying
Whenever Neymar produces an outstanding performance and scores unbelievable goals, the script is the same - the videos run worldwide and the majority of European supporters argue that he should challenge himself in a harder league. Before starting this article, I want to make clear that I am not a patriotic football fan: I am fully aware of the superior quality of the European leagues, indeed I watch most of them. On the other hand, I also write as a supporter of Santos FC.
Unlike his close friend Paulo Henrique Ganso, Neymar has been very well advised and appears to take all major decisions carefully. The rebellious kid of 2010 is gone, and we now see a balanced young man. So, here I list some reasons why Neymar should not leave Santos until the end of his contract:
Family and friends - Neymar has lived in Santos city since he was 11 years old. Until now, he still hangs out with his childhood friends and celebrates goals with messages for them. Moreover, "Juninho", as he is called by his close relates, is very attached to the family. The girl who is the mother of David Lucca, Neymar’s son, is not married to him and is not involved in any committed relationship with the player. Moving to Europe would separate the child from his father or mother - unless, of course, Neymar were to pay for the 18 year old girl and her family to live in Europe.
Love for Santos: As I said earlier, Neymar joined Santos when he was 11 years old and and has been playing in the first team since he was 17. Despite being accustomed to lifting trophies, there are still some that Neymar has ambitions to win, such as the Brazilian League and the World Club Cup. And what may seem futile to most, is important to Neymar: the “pagode” in the changing rooms and the proximity to the Brazilian culture, with dance celebrations are already a key part of the player's life.
Salary and sponsorship: European salaries are by far larger than the Brazilians. However, the amount of money he receives in Brazil for advertising campaigns is absurd. In total, the athlete has more than 10 official sponsors, among which are large international companies such as Nike, Panasonic, Volkswagen and Red Bull. As he says, even he doesn't know how much he gets. The media estimates that his earnings are somewhere between $1-2 million per month.
Idol status: Still just 20-years-old, Neymar is already the second greatest idol in the history of Santos. The greatest being none other than Pelé. According to a study released last week by the Brazilian daily LANCE!, the number of Santos’ fans has grown by 20% in the last three years. Beloved by fans, Neymar does not want to disappoint them and is set to leave Vila Belmiro through the front door.
His word: To date, the more tempting bid that came to Santos was from Chelsea. The bid shook the Santos board so much that the club convened a press conference to announce that Neymar would be staying. The current contract, which runs until 2014, is often cited by the player and the board whenever new speculation surrounds the Vila Belmiro. However, Santos’ president, Luis Alvaro Ribeiro, has said he would like to keep the player at the club for some seasons longer and will talk to the him when the right time comes.
Youth: However famous he is, Neymar still has 20 years old. If he leaves Brazil at the end of the his contract, he will be just 22. He could stay for at least three more years in Brazil before arriving in Europe at his peak.
Neymar has a lot to prove in European football, that is true and I don’t think he is afraid of it. He is fully aware that, upon departure, he will cease to be a king in Brazil in order to start over in Europe. But as with every footballer, he dreams of playing in the Champions League and of being a major protagonist in the greatest leagues of the world. When? Only he will decide.
Meanwhile, we, the Santos supporters, who have followed the boy the stadiums since he was just a prospect for the future, enjoy his immense skill. There is no game where the disconcerting skill of Neymar does not bring a smile to the Santos faithful. After all, he is different from everyone else. Would he have the same boldness in Europe? Maybe not. So for now, just let the kid play with his ball.
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