Brazilian giants Santos shocked the footballing world in November when they announced that they had managed to renew Neymar’s contract through 2014, ending speculation about his European future (for now).
However, news is now trickling out (Spanish link) about just how much the club had to sacrifice in order to keep their young phenom in Peixe white. Neymar apparently agreed to stay after the club offered him a 50% raise, which brings his salary in line with that of Brazilian stars playing for European clubs.
Although the South American champions are one of the richest clubs in Brazil, with an annual revenue of around $45 million, they can ill afford to pay their players the going rate for Euro clubs. In order to balance the books, club president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira Ribeiro has announced that they’re shutting down their women’s soccer team as well as the futsal team.
“If you don’t make ends meet, you return to indebtedness and run the risk of relegation,” said Ribeiro. “Keeping Neymar was a gesture of enormous courage but it has a cost. Winning titles has made player salaries more expensive and it’s impossible not to cut costs.”
Bárbara Kulaif, one of the Santos women’s team players facing the axe, took to the twitters for help. She sent the following to Neymar and Elano: “How about you give us a hand? The Mermaids [Ed note: the nickname for the Santos women's team] also have dreams, lots of them, just like you!”
I have a feeling she’ll be waiting a long time for a response. Clearly, Neymar is a misogynistic bastard hellbent on crushing the women’s game for the sake of being able to purchase ever more lavish haircare products.
On a serious note, this news suggests that if Santos suffers even the slightest financial setback, they’ll have no choice but to ship Neymar off to Spain, England, or whoever shows up with the biggest briefcase full of cash. I give it till the summer transfer window.