Santos Coach: Neymar Will Join Barcelona in the Near Future
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The 21-year-old has long been linked with a move to one of Europe's top teams, but his club manager in Brazil has stated he believes the Camp Nou will be his next destination.
Speaking to Spanish sports newspaper Marca, Ramalho said:
"I don't know if it will be now or later, but I think Neymar will play for Barcelona. If he goes abroad it has to be Barcelona because they have a similar playing style. If Santos have to pick a future for Neymar, then it is with them (Barca). He has a contract with Santos until 2014, but then I reckon he'll move to Barcelona."
It has been widely reported that the Catalan's have an agreement in place to sign Neymar following the 2014 World Cup in his homeland, and earlier this week Barcelona president Sandro Rosell admitted the player was on a list of potential targets.
Neymar has scored an impressive 129 goals in just 209 games for Santos since breaking into their first team just a month after his 17th birthday.
He has also gone on to score 17 times in just 28 appearances for the Brazilian national side and he will undoubtedly be a key component in Luiz Felipe Scolari's plans for World Cup success next summer.
It is likely the tournament will be Neymar's swansong in his home country with a move to Europe beckoning after that.
Is Barcelona the best choice for Neymar?
There will be no shortage of interest for one of the most talented individual players on the planet and it will be interesting to see what size transfer fee he would command.
Aside from the goals and outrageous skills he would bring to any side, Neymar has a huge commercial pull and plenty of the costs in procuring the protege would easily be recouped in merchandising and marketing deals.
But in footballing terms it seems Barcelona would be the best fit and Muricy Ramalho also alluded to the long line of Brazilian aces who have made their name at the club.
"There have always been great Brazilian forwards at Barcelona and that's why I think Neymar would continue that legacy. Ronaldo, Romario and Rivaldo have worn the shirt and gone on to become greats and Neymar has to follow in their footsteps."
Despite his undoubted ability there will still be some scepticism about how good Neymar is at present. He was underwhelming for the Brazil Under-23 team at last summers London Olympics and had an indifferent evening when A Selcao played England at Wembley in February.
But sooner or later one of the most recognisable players in the game will be plying his trade in one of the world's best leagues and only then will we find out just how good this boy is.
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