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Alves claims Neymar is Barcelona-bound P

Alves claims Neymar is Barcelona-bound
Pele says Nou Camp club would be perfect for Brazil star
Rio de Janeiro: Barcelona defender Daniel Alves says Neymar has already signed a deal to join Barcelona after his contract expires with Santos in July 2014.
The comments come a week after reports that Premier League outfit Manchester City is preparing to pay £55 million (Dh306 million) to sign the forward this summer. Real Madrid and Chelsea are also keen to secure the 21-year-old but Alves is adamant Neymar has already made up his mind.
“He knows what is happening and the deal that he has which is to come to the club in the near future. If I were him I would come as soon as possible because it would allow him to improve the tactical side of his game before the (2014) World Cup. Apart from that he would be coming to a club that would suit the qualities he has as a player,” Alves said.
Last year reports in Spain said Barcelona had already made a €14 million (Dh67 million) down payment for the Brazilian star, who has also been urged to join the Catalan club by football legend Pele.
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“I have already told him what I think. He knows what Barcelona can offer because I have made it my duty to tell him. But at the same time I can’t grab him and bring him here. If I could I would have already done it. It’s his decision,” Alves said.
Neymar’s arrival at the Nou Camp was also predicted at the end of last year by Spanish sports journalist, Guillem Balague, who told Gulf News: “They’ve paid his club Santos €10 million of his €40 million fee, so they are ready for him. I think that transfer will happen, yes. I think it’s up to everybody as to when he will move. If Barca wanted him for 2013, they’d have to pay another amount of money. Everyone seems to be in agreement that moving after the 2014 World Cup would be better.”
When asked if Neymar could reach the level of four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Alves was non-committal.
“I don’t know if he can reach the level that Messi has reached but he could reach a similar level. When you think about what Messi has already achieved, it’s complicated. But there are players who have stood out in their generation and Neymar can certainly do that,” he said.
Earlier this month, Brazil legend Pele urged Neymar to choose Barcelona over a move to Manchester City or Real Madrid.
Usually a staunch supporter of Neymar’s decision to resist offers from European clubs, Pele claimed the 21-year-old’s lack of top-level experience has made him a “regular player” for the Selecao.
“He is an excellent player but he doesn’t have any experience outside Brazil,” the three-time World Cup winner said.
“In every game he plays outside Brazil, he doesn’t do well. Everybody thinks Neymar can solve the Selecao’s problems, but he isn’t ready for that burden. We have a great deal of confidence in him but he has become a regular player for the national team.”
When asked which European club would be the ideal destination for Neymar, Pele replied: “The game is tougher in England, Italy and Germany because the referees usually let play go on. Barcelona would be ideal for him. Santos need him and for that reason I don’t think he should leave but if he must go it should be to Barcelona.”
The 72-year-old said Neymar’s long list of off-field commitments and celebrity status in Brazil have affected his form.
Neymar’s face can be seen on magazine covers, billboards and television commercials across the country. His ever-growing list of private sponsors – which include Nike, Panasonic, Volkswagen and Red Bull – are reported to be worth up to $30 million (Dh110 million) a year.
But despite an impressive 17 goals from 28 matches for Brazil since making his international debut in 2010, Neymar has struggled to repeat his sublime Santos form for the Selecao.
His lack of impact in Brazil’s 1-2 loss to England at Wembley Stadium earlier this month has added further weight to concerns about his development at…

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