Neymar helps Santos to reprise glory days of Pele
Friday 24 June 2011
Santos hope that Neymar, the Brazilian teenager with the Mohican and the quicksilver feet, will resist the lure of Europe for one more season after the club won the Copa Libertadores – the South America equivalent of the Champions League – for the first time since Pele's heyday in 1963.
The 19-year-old, likely to go to Chelsea or Real Madrid despite a €45m (£40m) release clause, shone in the Brazilian club's tempestuous 2-1 win over Uruguay's Penarol in the early hours of yesterday, scoring the first goal and assisting in the second. The first leg had finished 0-0.
Santos president Luis Alfaro Ribeiro hopes Neymar will stay on for December's World Club Cup, which is more highly regarded in South America than in Europe. Santos also hope to hold on to Paulo Henrique Ganso, the midfielder who was the true architect of their Copa victory but is coveted by both Milan clubs.
Penarol took the defeat badly and after the final whistle a brawl broke out, apparently started by their players but swiftly spreading to include Santos staff and fans – but not a celebrating old boy, Pele, resplendent in a burgundy jacket.
Latest in Sport
Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies from spine injury after doing somersault celebration
How Real Madrid started copying Barcelona's old pass masters, and began reaping the rewards
Angel Di Maria injury: Manchester United sweat over fitness of record signing as he is in danger of missing Chelsea clash
Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Champions League match preview
- 1 Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery reports: 'I'm living a fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy not arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 Video: Boxer Vido Loncar brutally assaults referee following defeat