Agent: Neymar would be Ballon d'Or finalist if he played in Europe
Neymar's agent Wagner Ribeiro has criticised the vote for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d'Or award, insisting his client would be amongst the top three were he in Europe.
Neymar, 20, who is listed amongst the forwards considered for the FIFA Team of the Year, was cut from the shortlist for the main award earlier this week when the final three names were announced.
His agent, though, believes the Santos man should have been been selected ahead of Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta for a place in the final three.
"I knew that Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi would be there for certain. Iniesta is wonderful, but Neymar is more of a player," Ribeiro told Terra.
"He has the attributes of Messi, only sharper. I was disappointed, for sure, but we now that the vote was affected by him not being in Europe."
Despite acknowledging the difficulty for Neymar to win the award whilst remaining in Brazil, Ribeiro insisted that the youngster would still remain in his homeland until 2014.
"Regarding the award, he lost because he is not in Europe. That said, he will stay until 2014, take part in the World Cup and when his contract finishes, he will be free to leave."
Last year Neymar was voted as the tenth best player in the world at the FIFA ceremony and will hope to beat that result this year, although it has already been revealed he will not be amongst the top five candidates.
The Santos star will, though, compete for the Ferenc Puskas award offered for the best goal scored this year, a title which he will defend having secured the accolade in 2011.