Sao Paulo: Brazil coach Mano Menezes says Neymar needs to play to Europe to gain more experience and improve as a player.
In an interview with the daily O Globo on Sunday, Menezes said a move to Europe would help Neymar "develop" his game and allow him to gain more "respect."
"In relation to his environment, to feeling at home, it's good that he is staying," Menezes said. "But for a complete development, to gain more respect, it's important that he goes to Europe."
Menezes said that in Brazil, being close to home and his fans, Neymar gets too much attention and is required to do a lot more than he would if he were in Europe, which ends up hurting him in some areas.
"Being there, he won't be as exposed," Menezes said. "Staying in Brazil demands contracts that take a lot of his time. We see that he is exposed. You need to execute three things in order to be well: train, eat and rest."
Neymar's club Santos wasn't happy with Menezes' comments and responded by saying that the coach should praise the player for wanting to stay in Brazil despite many offers from top European clubs.
"A comment like that, coming from the coach of the Brazilian national team, is regrettable," Santos vice-president Odilio Rodrigues Filho told local media. "It's the same thing to say that someone needs to coach an European club before coaching the national team, which is not true."
Menezes never coached outside Brazil before being picked to lead the national team. He was the second choice at the time, after Muricy Ramalho turned down an offer from the Brazilian federation because of club commitments.
Last year, Neymar agreed to a contract that ties him to Santos until the South American country hosts the 2014 World Cup. At the time there were widespread rumours of a possible move to Real Madrid or Barcelona. He said he believed he would be the happiest by being closer to friends and relatives in Brazil.
Santos were highly praised by fans and local media for rejecting the multimillion dollar offers from European clubs.
The 20-year-old Neymar, who already is a father, is one of Brazil's most promising stars and is widely expected to lead the Brazilian national team when it hosts the World Cup in two years.
Menezes also said a good performance by Brazil at the Olympics in London will be important to give the team confidence ahead of the World Cup and next year's Confederations Cup.
"These players really need a good performance to come out invigorated," Menezes said. "The coach is included in that context. You have an idea, and if it doesn't bring victories, you feel it."
In the interview, the coach also defended two-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldinho, who has been summoned to the Brazilian squad despite poor performances with Flamengo. On Sunday, Ronaldinho scored a goal but was sent off in the first half of the team's 2-0 win over rival Fluminense in the Rio Cup, the first stage of the Rio de Janeiro state championship.
Menezes said it's important that Ronaldinho "keeps trying to improve."