By Pilar Suarez
Barcelona have secured a deal to sign Santos starlet Neymar for an estimated €28 million on Saturday.
The Brazil international will join Camp Nou on a five-year contract having rejected overtures from Real Madrid – who are believed to have offered the Sao Paulo club €7m more than the Blaugrana to no avail.
The forward will earn a base amount of €7m-per-year at Camp Nou which, although is less than he was being offered by the Santiago Bernabeu side, will see him earn extra due to an agreement with international sports brand Nike.
Neymar has been on the radar of numerous top European clubs for a couple of years, having shone in South America and earned plaudits including a Ballon d’Or nomination for the 2013 edition.
The Selecao starlet has been tentatively linked with the likes of Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain but by far the favourites to snap up the 21-year-old were La Liga giants Barca – whose increasing interest Goal revealed in April – and Madrid.
The new Primera Division champions, Barca, have beaten their arch-rivals to the signing of Neymar, though, and will see the attacker join this summer ahead of the 2013-14 season.
As part of the deal, the Catalunya club will play the Brazilian in two friendlies – valued each at €2 million – in the near future, with one on each continent.
The Brazilian will join other South Americans on Camp Nou turf including the likes of Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Javier Mascherano and national team-mates Dani Alves and Adriano.
Neymar has said in the past that he wanted to wait to move to Europe until after World Cup 2014 but, due to his contract running out next year, Santos’ hand has been forced in order to make money from the player they have nurtured.