Neymar da Silva will be the hottest property in world football this summer, as European clubs will try to prise him away from his beloved Santos, for whom he signed when he was 11 years old.
The 19-year old striker became a figure of serious debate in Brazil when manager Dunga refused to pick him in his 23-man squad for the 2010 World Cup Finals.
Despite 14,000 people signing a petition, the captain of the 1994 World Cup winning Brazilian team stood firm on his argument that the young man had not been tested on the international plateau and therefore could not justify selection.
On Dunga’s dismissal as Brazilian head coach, Mano Menezes handed the starlet his debut against the U.S.A. The talented teen baffled the American defence in a showcase of skills, capping off his performance with a goal.
With transfer speculation surrounding the Santos player, including interest from European giants Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Juventus, the Brazilian side may look to offload Neymar in return for a big sum.
The fee for the skillful virtuoso, who has been compared to Robinho and Pele, is set to be in the area of €30 million as Santos have recently tied him down to a contract until 2014.
Real Madrid announced they have already signed a pre-contract with the star’s agent, a statement which da Silva has denied. Chelsea also came close to signing the Brazilian before the teen opted out, deciding he would rather continue playing first team football with Santos before deciding on his future.