Santos and Brazil forward Neymar has ignored the lure of fame and fortune in Europe and decided to prolong his stay in his homeland, signing a contract extension with O Peixe on Wednesday. The new deal will see him remain with the club until after the next World Cup in 2014.
Neymar has been at the centre of much transfer speculation in recent months, with Real Madrid frequently linked with the 19-year-old, but after stating in September that he was not looking for a move in the January transfer window he has now made good on his claims, citing his love for the club as a primary reason for his decision to prolong his stay in the Brasileirao.
"I'll stay until 2014. I always said that I wouldn't leave, my desire was to stay," Neymar enthused at a press conference.
"I'm a player who is making history in Santos. I'm glad to represent Santos and Brazil. I can only thank God for putting wonderful people on the path of my life. I'm very happy - this is the most important decision of my life. There was interest from Spain, but I wanted to stay here where I am happy. I have everything here - the president, my family, my son and my friends.
"I have never thought about leaving to be the best in the world. I don't think about this. I only think about playing in the best competitions, and Santos is doing just that. They fought for the Copa Libertadores and are going to play in the Club World Cup."
Neymar has scored 12 goals in 19 league games for Santos this season, though O Peixe are struggling in the Brasileirao as they languish in 9th place, some 10 points behind leaders Corinthians and Vasco da Gama. In total, the 19-year-old has notched 79 goals in 155 games for Santos in all competitions, with another eight in 15 games for Brazil.