Neymar: I'm staying put
© AFP

Star Brazilian striker Neymar on Monday put paid to rumours linking him to a big-money transfer to Spain, saying he was staying with Santos.

The 19-year-old had been linked with a move to Spanish giants Real Madrid and also to a lesser extent their bitter rivals UEFA Champions League holders Barcelona.

"What is certain is that I am not going to leave at the next transfer window (Europe's transfer window in January)," said Neymar at a specially-convened press conference. "I am going to stay here till the centenary (of the club on April 14 2012). I am a Santos player and I am not negotiating with anyone.

"If I had my way, I would stay at Santos for a long time. I am happy here and I have no reason to leave. To be happy is what is important. Here I have my friends and family," added Neymar, who is father of a newly-born baby boy.

In early August it had been reported by the usually well-informed Spanish Madrid-based sports daily newspaper Marca that Neymar had signed and would arrive after the FIFA Club World Cup in December.

However, he appeared to put that in doubt only a couple of days later when in an interview he praised Barcelona and also said he would be staying with Santos, with whom he won the Libertadores Cup earlier this year. 

Then at the end of last week local newspaper 'Estado de Sao Paulo' claimed he had undergone a medical at Sao Luiz de Sao Paulo hospital prior to announcing his transfer to Real.

Neymar's current deal with Santos is worth almost USD 2 million a season through to 2015.