Latin America

Santos denies Neymar speculation

Brazilian Neymar has been linked with Manchester City, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
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Santos chief Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro has rubbished the latest speculation surrounding Neymar and Manchester City.

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Reports from Spain claimed that City's hierarchy - led by director of football Txiki Begiristain - were ready to offer a 'blank cheque' to Santos in order to land the brilliant young Brazilian.

However, Ribeiro was quick to insist that even if City did make an approach it would have little bearing on them.

"I would tell the English that I would have a new stamp for their cheque: It would be returned for non-payment, rather than for lack of funds," said Ribeiro, who refuses to put any price on his prized asset.

"I'll say in advance what my response is to any offer that may come, my answer is no.

"Neymar is going to stay at Santos for sure until 2014 and I hope he stays even longer than that."

Ribeiro believes Neymar could stay with Santos whilst he remains as happy as he is.

"I have a very clear thesis to explain why Neymar stayed at Santos, resisting the offers from the Spanish. The reason is simple, he is happy. And he costs us relatively little considering his talent.

"The presence of Neymar generates so much for us, like our fan base growing 20% in the last two years.

"It's a repetition of what happened in the 1950s and 1960s when Pele attracted lots of fans far beyond the city limits, repeating history is not creative but I'm doing what [former Santos president Athie] did regarding Pele."

Pele stayed at Santos for almost two decades and played more than 1000 games for the club, including friendlies.

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