Neymar to stay at Santos

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian prodigy Neymar got a pay rise from Santos and committed himself to the Brazilian club for the next five years on Thursday.

The talented teenager turned down a multi-million euro offer from Premier League champions Chelsea to sign a new five-year contract with Santos including higher wages and a 10 million euro jump in his buyout clause to 45 million.

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"The final decision is always the player's. I spoke to my dad and my family and we decided to stay. I'm happy, it's what I want," the 18-year-old told a news conference.

"I think (the decision) is going to help my game quite a lot because I'm happy. Money alone doesn't bring happiness," added the player sitting next to his father, also called Neymar, and Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira.

The possible transfer of Neymar has been a major talking point in Brazil during recent weeks with the likes of Pele, Mario Zagallo and new Brazil coach Mano Menezes suggesting it was too early in his career for a move to Europe.


"This decision of Neymar's is not based on a mere arithmetic comparison of figures here and there because if it was like that Santos would lose out," De Oliveira said.

"It's a much wider reaching attitude which shows that a kid of 18 is capable of taking the decision of a mature man."

He emerged last season as "the new Robinho" and went on to play a leading part in Santos's capture of this year's Paulista (Sao Paulo) state championship scoring 14 goals in 19 matches as well as a remarkable 11 in eight games in the Copa Brasil.

Chelsea became interested but Santos turned down their offer of 20 million euros and also rejected a 15 million bid from fellow London Premier League side West Ham United.

Santos denounced alleged illegal approaches to Neymar and his representatives behind their backs by Chelsea, which the English double winners denied, and threatened to take the matter to football's world governing body FIFA.

Neymar was overlooked for this year's World Cup in South Africa by former Brazil coach Dunga but made a promising international debut under Menezes, scoring in a 2-0 victory over the United States in a friendly in New Jersey last week.

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