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Neymar denies talk of Santos return

The Brazil star is happy in Saudi Arabia amid rumours of a return to his homeland


Neymar has dismissed a report that suggested he is eager to return to Santos at the end of the next Pro League season.

The Brazil forward endured an injury-plagued first year at Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal, making just five appearances before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament on international duty.

He has another 12 months left on his deal at Al-Hilal and a report in UOL Esporte suggested moves were already afoot for him to move back to Santos, with whom he made his name before joining Barcelona in 2013.

The 32-year-old admitted he would like to go back to his boyhood club at some stage but denied it was on the cards in 2025.

He told ESPN Brasil: “No. What they said is a total lie. There’s nothing planned. I have one more year on my contract with Al-Hilal. I hope I can have a great season. I missed out on that last one. 

“Let’s live little by little. There’s a lot of time ahead. Obviously Santos is my favourite team, one day I want to return, yes, but I don’t have anything planned in my head.”

Neymar lauds Vinicius Jnr

Neymar will miss the upcoming Copa America in which Brazil will hope to wrestle back the crown from rivals Argentina.

For that to happen, Brazil will need Vinicius Jnr to play to his best level.

The Real Madrid forward scored the second goal in their 2-0 defeat of Borussia Dortmund in Saturday’s Champions League final and Neymar believes his countryman is now the favourite to land the coveted Ballon d’Or.

He said: “As for Vini, obviously I think the Ballon d’Or is his.

“I sent [him] messages before and after the [Champions League final] game. He’s a boy I love with passion, a great friend that football gave me. He will certainly be crowned with the Ballon d’Or.

“He’s incredible. Carrying our country’s flag around the world and we’re really rooting for him.”

The last Brazilian to win the award was Kaka in 2007.

Picture of Jon Fisher

Jon Fisher

Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.