SAO PAULO: Pressure is building up on Santos star Neymar to secure his expected transfer to Europe sooner rather than later. Neymar, South American Footballer of the Year, is a priority target for Spanish, European and world club champions Barcelona but has always insisted he did not want to ‘leave home’ until after Brazil host the 2014 World Cup finals.
However even his national coach, Mano Menezes, is coming round to the view that a year in Europe would sharpen up Neymar’s game and benefit both him – and by extension Brazil – for the finals.
Menezes, in an interview with O Globo, said: “In relation to his environment, to feeling at home, it’s good that he is staying. But for a complete development, to gain more respect, it’s important that he goes to Europe. Being there, he won’t be as exposed to outside pressures.
“Staying in Brazil demands contracts that take a lot of his time. He is exposed. You need to execute three things in order to be well: train, eat and rest.”
Santos vice-president Odilio Rodrigues Filho was irritated by Menezes’s words, responding: “A comment like that, coming from the coach of the Brazilian national team, is regrettable. It’s the same thing to say that someone needs to coach a European club before coaching the national team, which is not true.”
Menezes never coached outside Brazil before being picked to lead the national team. He was the second choice at the time, after Muricy Ramalho turned down an offer because of club commitments.