Santos forward Neymar says that he is not concerned about rejecting a summer transfer to Chelsea but admits he still wants to play in Europe.
Neymar, 19, recently signed a new contract with the Brazilian club, quashing any hopes that the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona or Chelsea had of signing him. And the highly-rated winger claims he is happy where he is for the time being.
“I have no regrets, I decided to stay in my country and I tell myself that I was right,” he said to France Football. “If I was transferred to Chelsea [last summer], I would not have won the Copa Libertadores this year, a title that Santos were waiting to win for 50 years.”
Chelsea have recently begun recruiting for the future, with signings such as Oriol Romeu and Romelu Lukaku seen as long-term replacements for Michael Essien and Didier Drogba respectively, and Neymar could potentially have joined them.
More recently speculation regarding a transfer to Real Madrid, where he spent a week training in 2006, has intensified, yet Neymar is keen to underline his immediate plans.
“For the moment I want to stay here in Santos. I thank both big clubs, giants of football, for their interest about me, but I made a life choice, and that is to stay at Santos for now,” he continued.
“I trained with players of my generation in Madrid and it was a wonderful experience. I scored some goals but I decided to come back to Brazil – that was not the right moment to leave my country. I dream of playing in Europe, that is sure, but I do not know when I will do it.”
Should a move to Real eventually materialise, Neymar will follow in the footsteps of countrymen Ronaldo, Robinho and Roberto Carlos who have previously enjoyed success at the Bernabeu in recent years and the youngster admits that Milan’s Robinho is one of his idols.
“Robinho, since I was very young I have admired him,” he said. “I saw him play at Santos in 2002 with Diego, Elano, Renato – I was 10. I did not have the money to go to the stadium so I only saw him on TV. I played alongside him last year, he was there for six months before the World Cup and it was wonderful to play at professional level with him. A dream came true for me.”