Brazil’s Alves to leave Barca, Neymar to stay – club

Barcelona (AFP) – Brazil international defender Dani Alves has told Barcelona he intends to leave after eight successful seasons but compatriot Neymar will extend his stay, the Spanish champions confirmed on Thursday.

“He (Alves) has already told us he intends to leave the club,” Barcelona technical director Robert Fernandez said of the player currently in the United States getting ready to contest the Copa America with Brazil.

“We don’t like the fact he’s going. His behaviour on and off the field here has been so exemplary and now he’s decided to go. The decision is his and we will respect that.

“Neymar will reach an agreement with the club and will stay here for many years to come,” Fernandez added.

Catalan Sports daily Sport claimed on Thursday that Alves had already signed with Italian champions Juventus. Rival daily Mundo Deportivo said however the player was also considering offers from Manchester United and Paris Saint Germain.

Alves, 33, is under contract until June 2017 after signing a two-years extension during 2015 at a period where Barcelona were banned from signing new players.

The contract extension also included a get out clause at the end of the 2015-2016 season meaning Alves will go as a free agent on a free transfer.

“At the time the contract extension was a logical decision as he’s had a great season,” said Fernandez.

Alves has won six La Liga titles and three Champions League crowns with Barcelona since joining from Seville in 2008.

Playmaker Neymar wants to stay with the club for many seasons, Fernandez told a press conference.

Neymar, who joined Barcelona in 2013 from Brazil’s Santos in a deal which has haunted all concerned because of alleged hidden payments, is under contract until 2018.

But the 24-year-old prolific Brazil striker has also played brilliantly for the Catalan club as part of a much feared attacking trident alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Speculation has mounted however around whether or not the slender winger would extend his stay or make another lucrative move.

“Negotiations are underway. I have three years left on my contract, I’m confident we’ll reach an agreement,” said Neymar.

Neymar will not contest the Copa America this month but instead will lead his nation’s medal drive at the Olympic Games in Rio in August.

Arsenal’s Spanish international right-back Hector Bellerin is thought to be Barcelona’s key target to replace Alves.

The 21-year-old was born in Barcelona and spent eight seasons in the Barcelona youth teams before joining the Gunners in 2013.

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