Neymar to stay with Santos until 2014
SAO PAULO -- Neymar has agreed to a new contract with Santos that ties him to the Brazilian club until the South American country hosts the 2014 World Cup.
Despite widespread talk of a possible move to Real Madrid or Barcelona, Neymar said Wednesday he made the decision to stay with Santos because it's where he believes he will be the happiest.
Brazil's most promising young star in years, Neymar said the contract will allow him to stay near his family and friends for as long as possible.
"Here is where I'm happy and here is where I want to stay," he said at a news conference. "I've always said that happiness would play a significant role in my decision. It wasn't an easy decision but I'm happy here, with my family, my friends and my teammates."
The 19-year-old Neymar said that being near his baby also was key. He is not married but became the father of a boy last August.
"It's been a wonderful experience and I want to be here to see my son grow up," he said. "I wouldn't have a lot of contact with him playing abroad. Santos fans have to thank him too for my decision to stay."
Wearing a jersey with the words, "It's good to be the king," Neymar said he is honored to be wanted by Real Madrid and Barcelona but that it is just as important to be able to wear the famous Santos shirt.
"I'm wearing the jersey that Pele wore, and I'll be playing in some of the best tournaments in the world, like the Copa Libertadores and the Club World Cup, which is what I always said that I wanted to do," Neymar said.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press