SAO PAULO – Brazilian forward Neymar said he will join Barcelona after next month's Confederations Cup, the latest addition to a star filled roster that already includes four-time FIFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi, Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta.
The decision came Saturday, a day after his Brazilian club Santos said it had accepted offers from Barcelona and Spanish rival Real Madrid. Santos said the decision was Neymar's, and he made the announcement Saturday on Twitter and other social media sites.
"My friends and my family already know of my decision," Neymar wrote. "On Monday I will sign a contract with Barcelona."
He said he will play his last match with Santos on Sunday against Flamengo in the team's first match in this year's Brazilian league.
"It's sad because it's a farewell and happy because it's a new challenge," he said.
The 21-year-old is perhaps Brazil's key player in the Confederations Cup and in the World Cup, which Brazil hosts next year.
Neymar led Santos to its greatest run since Pele stopped playing for the club in the 1970s. The youngster helped Santos win the 2010 Brazilian Cup, the 2011 Copa Libertadores and three straight Sao Paulo state championships. He is the club's leading scorer in the post-Pele era with 138 goals in 229 matches.
He joins a Barcelona team with a core of players who came up through the club's youth academy, a group that includes Messi, Xavi and Iniesta plus defenders Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique, midfielders Cesc Fabregas, Sergio Busquets and Thiago Alcantera, and forward Pedro Rodriguez.
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