Teenage Brazil striker Neymar is avoiding talk about a possible transfer to Europe, saying he is fully focused on leading Santos to the Copa Libertadores title.
Neymar and Santos will face Uruguay's Penarol on Wednesday in the final of Latin America's most important club competition. The Brazilian team has a chance to win its third title after holding Penarol to a 0-0 draw in the first leg last week in Uruguay.
It will be the most important match in the young career of the 19-year-old Neymar, but most of the talk is centering on his possible future in Europe.
"Really, I'm only thinking about winning the Copa Libertadores," Neymar told local media over the weekend. "I don't want to talk about other teams. I'm a Santos player and I'm happy to be here."
Neymar is touted as Brazil's future star, the one to lead the five-time world champions when it hosts the World Cup in 2014.
He rejected a multimillion euro (dollar) from Chelsea last year and extended his contract with Santos until the 2014 World Cup, but recently there have been increased reports about a possible transfer to one of Europe's top teams.
Santos President Luis Alvaro Ribeiro confirmed to the Brazilian newspaper Lance on Monday that Real Madrid made an offer for Neymar and said there is nothing he can do if the Spanish club decides to pay the buyout clause of 45 million ($64 million).
Neymar insists, though, that he is right where he wants to be.
"My contract is with Santos, I'm happy to be playing in Brazil, with my family near me," said Neymar, who recently announced that he is about to have a baby with a teenage girl he used to date.
He admits that his ultimate goal is to play abroad, but says that's not on his mind right now.
"The future is in God's hands," he said. "It could be tomorrow or in five years, no one really knows."
Neymar became well known after helping Santos win the traditional Sao Paulo state championship and the Brazilian Cup last year. Interest only grew after good performances with the Brazilian national team, and he established himself for good after leading Santos to the final of the Copa Libertadores, the team's first since 2003.
Neymar became known as the new Robinho, and now some fans are even saying that he may eventually come close to the level of Pele, the football great who led Santos to its previous Copa Libertadores titles in 1962 and '63.
"If Santos wins the Libertadores, there is even more reason for Neymar to stay," Ribeiro said. "I know there will be some crazy offers, but he will win more by staying longer."