Sao Paulo - Brazilian football phenom Neymar announced on Saturday on his Instagram
account that he is about to sign up with Spanish powerhouse Barcelona.
"On Monday, I sign a contract with Barcelona. I want to
thank the Santos fans for nine incredible years," wrote Neymar, 21, who
is currently a forward for the storied Brazilian team Santos.
had received offers for Neymar from both Barca and its rival Real
Madrid, according to Spanish newspaper El Pais, quoting the club's
In Spain, Barca confirmed the move on Sunday.
Barcelona and Santos FC have agreed terms for Neymar da Silva Junior.
The Brazilian forward will don the Blaugrana strip for the next five
seasons," said a statement on the club's website.
On its English-language Twitter account, the club said that Neymar "will join FC Barcelona for the next five seasons."
his tender age, Neymar has been a first-team regular for Santos for the
past four years, scoring 156 goals and providing 77 assists in 256
In 2011, he guided them to their first Copa Libertadores
triumph since the days when Pele represented the club in the 1960s, and
has already established himself at international level, scoring 20 times
in 32 appearances with Brazil.
"It's a different moment for me, sad (bidding farewell) and happy (new challenges)," he wrote.
plays his last game for Santos on Sunday against rivals Flamengo, at
the opening of this year's Brazilian football season.
"I want the chance to enter the field one more time... and hear the fans cry out my name," he wrote.
young star, who often sports a Mohawk haircut, is a native of Sao
Paulo. Youths ask barbers for "a Neymar" when they go for a haircut, and
young women scream and chase after him as if he were a rock star.
lacks the megastars of yesteryear as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Robinho
have aged, and the country's hopes for winning the World Cup 2014 - to
be held in Brazil - largely rests on the young prodigy's shoulders.
magazine described Neymar in February as "the future Pele," while the
US magazine Sports Pro chose him for the second year running as the
sports personality with most worldwide marketing potential, ahead of
Argentina's Lionel Messi and Irish golfer Rory McIlroy.
football pitch, Neymar's face is omnipresent: he's constantly being
interviewed on TV, he appears in scores of ads and on websites, and his
personal life is feverishly covered by the celebrity press.
are avid to find the latest news about Neymar and his young son, or
Neymar and his latest girlfriend, in this case TV starlet Bruna
Marquesina. Their courtship was announced at the latest Rio carnival.
Feeling the pressure? "It's part of the job, it's a responsability, but it's enjoyable," he said.