Montevideo – Brazil star Neymar, who has been courted by some of the world's biggest clubs, says “it is not yet the time” to play in Europe as the Santos youngster won his second straight South American player of the year award.
“Everyone asks me the same question but I have a contract with Santos until 2014 and I am happy here with my family and my friends,” the striker told journalists at the glitzy ceremony on Wednesday.
The 20-year-old also played down comparisons with Argentina's Lionel Messi, who won his fourth straight Ballon d'Or earlier this week, and said he considered that club and country were his priorities.
“That is not what I'm looking for,” he explained in reference to being the best in the world. “My goal is to help Santos and the Brazilian team. To be the best player in the world is a consequence of that work.”
With the 2014 World Cup hosted in Brazil for the first time since 1950, Neymar and his father seem adamant that he is going nowhere Ä at least for now.
“Neymar will stay with Santos until 2014. Afterwards, he can extend that deal if the club wish to do so,” said his father Neymar Da Silva, who was also present in the Uruguayan capital.
Santos president Paulo Schiff compared his prize asset to legend Pele, who spent almost all his career at the club before a late spell with the New York Cosmos.
“In 30 years, no other Brazilian club has been able to keep onto a great player except us with Neymar. We have refused offers from Barcelona, Chelsea and other clubs,” said Schiff.
“We want him to have a great career with Santos like the King Pele during his heyday,” he told AFP. – Sapa-AFP