SAO PAULO: Neymar, Brazil’s South American Footballer of the Year, has been urged to resist Barcelona pressure to move to Spain next summer and remain at home until the 2014 World Cup finals.

The advice has come from Vanderlei Luxemburgo, the former Brazil and Real Madrid coach who is now boss of Gremio, amid a debate over whether the player’s progress had been halted by his  decision to stay at Santos for the  time being.

Luxemburgo, in an interview with Estado, said: “Neymar can and will develop as a player in Brazil. These days Brazilian football is of a better standard and better paid than many European leagues. He is in the top three players in the world already. By staying, he can correct his mistakes in a familiar environment and at the same time continue to be a drawcard for Brazilian football.”

Neymar is contracted to Santos until 2014 but the Spanish media has reported that Barcelona has already made a down-payment for him to move next summer.

Former internationals such as Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Dunga have recommended – after his silver-medal ‘disappointment’ at the London Olympics – that Neymar needed to raise his name by a move to Europe sooner rather than later.

Luxemburgo believes Neymar’s chief concern in Brazil, should he stay at Santos, is the preferential treatment afforded to him by local media.

He said perpetually portraying Neymar as an innocent victim will ultimately be to the detriment of the forward’s development.

“The media has protected him perhaps too much,” Luxemburgo said. “He doesn’t need that. It seems that nobody can mark him without being criticized. It is part of his development process.”

Neymar has come in for jeers, on his appearances in England, for his readiness to fall to ground when under the slightest physical pressure.


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