Neymar set to stay at Barca till 2021

BARCELONA • Neymar is close to signing a three-year contract extension with Barcelona that will tie the Brazil captain to the La Liga champions until June 2021, according to the Spanish football club's president Josep Maria Bartomeu yesterday.

The 24-year-old forward is a reported target of top European teams and his current deal expires in June 2018.

El Mundo Deportivo reported yesterday that Manchester United were launching a "total offensive" to acquire Neymar.

The Catalan based newspaper had stated earlier this month that Paris Saint-Germain had offered the South American a wage package of €30 million (S$45 million) net per season, which is double what he receives at Barca.

But Bartomeu told a news conference: "Neymar does not want to leave Barca and we don't want him to go. In the next few days we will announce his contract renewal for five seasons.

"It's normal that many clubs are interested in Neymar but our club members need to be calm because our club's lawyers and Neymar will iron out the minor details in the coming days."

Neymar completed his third season at Barca in 2015-16 since joining from Santos and scored 31 goals in 48 appearances to help the club win the league and the King's Cup. He did not play at the Copa America Centenario this month in order to rest.

On Wednesday, he, striker Douglas Costa, 25, and and goalkeeper Fernando Prass, 37, were named by stand-in coach Rogerio Micale in a young Brazil Olympic squad looking to bounce back from humiliation in the Copa, where Brazil failed to make the quarter-finals.

"Neymar is one of the best players in the world," Micale told a news conference.

"I hope he will be able to help the younger players."

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 01, 2016, with the headline 'Neymar set to stay at Barca till 2021'. Print Edition | Subscribe