Santos ready for Neymar transfer 'war'
Santos president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro is predicting "a war" for Neymar's signature in 2014.
Neymar, 19, is considered one of football's brightest talents, and interest from Europe is high, with Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea all linked with the forward in recent months.
It was this week claimed Champions League holders Barcelona had struck a preliminary agreement of €10 million with Santos allowing them to swoop for his services before his current contract expires in 2014.
Santos have, however, since rejected the claims, and their president has now reaffirmed the Brazilian club's commitment to retaining the striker, despite the lure of receiving a potentially huge transfer fee.
"Barca do not have any first option on Neymar," he told RAC1. "I can assure he'll stay until 2014, then a war will start. In 2014, his contract will be up and he can sign for another club if he so chooses.
"Barca and Madrid both made a formal, written offer for Neymar. Madrid's bid was the highest, Barca's more long-term. I have a very strong commitment to the truth. With Neymar the issue was basic. He has incredible potential - he's one of a kind.
"He's very young, at 19. I felt to sell now was to sell the future. All the fans in Brazil love him and that is a priceless heritage for Barca and so we made every possible sacrifice for continuity - rejecting offers, even millions."
However, he also said that Madrid had offered less than the player's release clause.
"They wanted to pay less than the release clause, which was a joke," he said. "[Neymar's agent] Wagner Ribeiro is someone who's close to Madrid and I think it had an economic interest in seeing him in the white shirt."
On speaking to Barcelona president Sandro Rosell after the meeting with Madrid counterpart Florentino Perez, he added: "I called Sandro and said I have good and bad news. The good news is that Neymar will not go to Madrid. The bad news is that he is not going to Barca either.
"Barcelona have no advantage here. My friendship with Sandro has no bearing on any future negotiations."