Rio de Janeiro – Neymar has rejected the latest reports linking him with a move to Barcelona by insisting he has still not considered leaving Brazilian club Santos.
Last week Barcelona defender and Neymar’s Brazilian teammate Daniel Alves claimed the striker had already agreed to join the Catalan outfit after next year’s World Cup.
“Daniel Alves is a good friend but if I say that (Lionel) Messi is coming to Santos, would you believe me?” Neymar was quoted as saying by Xinhua. “I appreciate what Daniel is saying but I am happy here.”
According to Spanish media, Barcelona have made a down payment of 10 million euros for the starlet, whose contract with Santos expires in July next year.
Among the clubs jostling with Barcelona for the 21-year-old’s signature are Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City.
In a thinly-veiled swipe at Alves, Neymar called for an end to speculation about his future.
“Those who say that I am ready to leave don’t know anything about my life,” he said.
“When I feel ready to leave I will leave. It’s my decision to make and nobody else’s. I am happy at Santos.”
Earlier on Monday, Barcelona president Sandro Rosell confirmed the club’s interest in signing the Brazil forward this European summer.
“It’s true that we are interested in him and he is on the list of possible signings for the future,” Rosell said during a press conference.
Neymar has scored 54 goals from 102 appearances for Santos and led the side to the 2011 Copa Libertadores title – South America’s most prestigious club trophy. He has also won 28 international caps for Brazil and scored 17 times.