FC Barcelona confirm Neymar deal

Madrid, May 26 (IANS) FC Barcelona Sunday confirmed that the club has reached an agreement to sign 21-year-old Brazilian international striker Neymar from Brazilian club Santos.

The announcement, which was posted on the official Barca website, thus closes a long transfer saga, which had threatened to become even more complicated when Real Madrid appeared to take an interest in the player a week ago, reported Xinhua.

"Neymar, who announced the news on Twitter and Instagram, will play for Barca for the next five seasons," confirmed FC Barcelona.

"The player is known for his exquisite technical skills which makes this free-scoring striker a nightmare for any defense. His style is beautiful to watch and he has received recognition and praise from the legendary Pele himself, of whom many believe he is the modern successor," continued the communique.

Barcelona are thought to have paid around 25 million Euros to Santos, who owned 55 percent of the rights of the player, who also confirmed his departure.

As well as writing a goodbye message on the dressing room wall of his club, in which he promised to return in the future, Neymar posted messages on social networking sites thanking Santos, a club with whom he had a contract until 2014.

"I want to thank the fans of Santos for these incredible nine years. My feeling for the club and the fans will never change. It is eternal!

"Only a club like Santos FC could give me everything I have experienced on and off the field. I thank the wonderful fans who supported me even in the most difficult moments. The titles, goals, dribbling, celebrations and songs that fans created for me will be forever in my heart," wrote Neymar, who will play his last game for the club against Flamengo this Sunday.

The 21-year-old said he has ensured he could play in that game as he wanted to hear the crowd scream his name for one final time.

For their part Santos said the club had tried to keep their star player: "every effort was made to keep him in Brazil as long as possible, even offering to renew the current contract, which ended in July 2014. At this time, however, it was not possible to compete with the terms offered from abroad, which affected the decision of the player to review his professional life," confirmed the Brazilian outfit.

Neymar is expected to sign his contract with Barcelona in the coming week, before moving to Spain where he will form an attacking duo with Leo Messi.

The prospect of the Argentinean, considered to be the best player in the world, and Neymar, the player who is currently best placed to be his successor in that role, is one which will have Barca fans licking their lips in expectation and rivals worrying how they will be able to stop the pair.

However, it should not be taken for granted that Neymar will be an instant hit: other Brazilians have arrived in Spain with a great reputation, such as Robinho, but ultimately failed to live up to expectations as a result of the massive pressure placed on their.

Neymar is still very young and will need time to adapt to a new country, a new lifestyle, a new club and a new style of football. He will also have to accept that for the moment, Leo Messi is top-dog at the Camp Nou, while he will have something to prove and the relationship between the two strikers will no doubt be the focus of much interest and attention over the coming weeks and months.