“On Monday, I sign a contract with Barcelona. I want to thank the Santos fans for nine incredible years,” wrote Neymar, 21, who is currently a forward for the storied Brazilian team Santos.
Santos had received offers for Neymar from both Barca and its rival Real Madrid, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais, quoting the club’s vice-president.
In Spain, Barca confirmed the move yesterday.
“FC Barcelona and Santos FC have agreed terms for Neymar da Silva Junior. “The Brazilian forward will don the Blaugrana strip for the next five seasons,” said a statement on the Spanish club’s website.
On its English-language Twitter account, the club said that Neymar “will join FC Barcelona for the next five seasons.” Despite his tender age, Neymar has been a first-team regular for Santos for the past four years, scoring 156 goals and providing 77 assists in 256 matches.
In 2011, he guided them to their first Copa Libertadores triumph since the days when Pele represented the club in the 1960s, and has already established himself at international level, scoring 20 times in 32 appearances with Brazil. “It’s a different moment for me, sad (bidding farewell) and happy (new challenges),” he wrote.