'Neymar Sr forced son's sale'

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 19 (IANS) The father of Barcelona star Neymar placed a mid-June deadline on the sale of his son, according to his former club Santos.

The Brazilian side's interim president, Odilio Rodrigues Filho, revealed Wednesday that Neymar da Silva Snr warned the forward would leave as a free agent if a deal was not struck before the Confederations Cup, reports Xinhua.

"We had a deadline to sell him, set by his father, that was the beginning of the Confederations Cup June 15," Rodrigues Filho told local daily Folha de S.Paulo.

"If he wasn't sold, he would have stayed and then signed a pre-contract with another club in January. Santos would have got nothing.

"Neymar was having a tough time - fans were booing him and results were bad. Then came two proposals (Barcelona and Real Madrid) and we chose the best option for Santos."

The 21-year-old signed with the Catalan club June 3 for 57 million euros, the highest fee ever paid for a Brazil-based player.

Rodrigues Filho admits Santos, currently ninth in the Campeonato Brasileiro standings, are yet to recover from Neymar's departure.

"No club is prepared to lose an idol," he said. "It has had an impact on fans' morale, on the quality of our football and on prospective signings.

"We spent two months trying to renew his contract until 2016, but his dad said: 'My son is not going to stay one minute longer than the end of his contract in 2014'.

"We have felt the consequences, but in the past Santos has dealt with the loss of Pele and other idols."

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