Is it illegal that Real Madrid are trying to sign Brazilian striker Neymar?
Neymar’s current club Santos certainly think so. In July 2011, the club claimed that Spanish giants Real Madrid had made an illegal approach to the 19-year-old new superstar of Brazilian football and threatened to take the matter to FIFA.
Since Neymar’s emergence as a major new talent in 2010, the current Copa Libertadores champions had been adamant that they want to hold on to the striker until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Neymar is under contract with them until 2015 and, accordingly, Santos had rejected official approaches from Real, as well as Barcelona and Chelsea, all of whom covet the player.
However, the club’s president, Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro claimed that there had been an unoffficial meeting between representatives from Real and Neymar’s agents in Paris. His evidence for this seemed to be the fact that Real had let it be known they are willing to pay the 45 million Euro ‘buy out clause’ in Neymar’s contract, a figure they could only have been made aware of via an illegal conversation with Neymar’s representatives.
Ribeiro threatened to report the Spanish giant to FIFA for the alleged approach.
“If Real Madrid or any other club decides to meet his buy-out clause, we have no other option but to report them to FIFA for approaching the player without our permission,” Ribeiro told the magazine Terra in July 2011.
“Real Madrid spoke with Neymar’s management in Paris and made an interesting offer. I’ve told him that we won’t let go of him though and he wants to stay with us, too. I can assure you that Neymar will play for Santos at the Club World Cup. I have already said it before and that’s the way it is.”
Ribeiro’s defiance, whilst admirable, will almost certainly prove futile. Few observers believe Santos will be able to resist the money being offered by the giants of the European game for much longer. The smart money is on Neymar leaving for Spain, probably during the January 2013 transfer window.