I don't normally write about transfers and contracts here, but I'll make an exception today. Neymar has signed a new contract with Santos, a deal that (the club hopes) will keep him in Brazil until the 2014 World Cup.
The club have financed the deal through a partnership with Banco do Brasil, who will seek to benefit from Neymar's growing fame in the run-up to the 2014 tournament. Neymar, already the best-paid player at the Vila Belmiro, stands to benefit from a wage rise of around 50%.
Neymar, wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan "It's good to be the King!" (in English) at this afternoon's press conference, expressed his delight at the deal. "I'm very happy here. I always said I was happy to be near my friends, and now my son. There's no bigger joy than agreeing to stay." His agent, Wagner Ribeiro, echoed these sentiments; "It's great for Santos [to keep] a player that makes the fans so happy."
Santos president Luis Álvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro took the opportunity to bemoan the incessant rumours about Neymar's future; "Often, the media is self-serving... I always said that we hadn't sold Neymar, and I was even called a liar." With the club's presidential elections looming on the horizon, he will be particularly pleased at having tied up the deal.
The news, of course, will disappoint Real Madrid and Barcelona, both of whom have expressed significant interest in the player over the last year. They, however, will have to wait: Neymar will continue to enchant Brazilian football fans for some time yet.
(Photo credit: Nacho Doce/Reuters.)