Santos’ club president Marcelo Texeira has claimed that Neymar will return to the Brazilian outfit once he’s completed his experience in the Saudi Pro League with Al-Hilal.
The Brazilian superstar’s former club are plotting a move to bring him back to Urbano Caldeira Stadium. The 32-year-old started his career with the Peixe before joining Barcelona in an €88 million deal in 2013.
The former Barca superstar joined Jorge Jesus’ Al-Za’eem last summer in a reported €90 million deal from Paris Saint-Germain. But, he’s been limited to just five appearances thus far after he suffered a cruciate ligament tear on international duty in October.
Santos president Marcelo Texeira has already confirmed that he’s held talks with Neymar over a potential return. He said (via the source above):
“The conversation [with Neymar] was very quick, but it’s always quick conversations that have good effect. To come back and play here, he needs to recover well from injury. He will continue his experience in Saudi Arabia and then come back here.”
Brazil‘s all-time leading goalscorer became a hero at Santos during the early stages of his career, putting himself on the map with inspired performances. He made 142 appearances across competitions, scoring 73 goals and providing 37 assists.
Neymar’s future with Al-Hilal is uncertain as he continues to recover from his cruciate ligament injury. The Saudi giants signed Renan Lodi last month and were forced to remove the former Barca hero from their squad to register another overseas player.
The club will be able to re-register the attacker ahead of next season but they could yet opt not to. They have sealed several high-profile signings over the past year including Aleksandar Mitrovic from Fulham.
Neymar has just over a year left on his contract with Al-Hilal and the club and the player possess the option to extend for a further year. But, it’s claimed that the two parties may decide to part ways.
Neymar asked Santos to temporarily retire the No.11 shirt
It appears that the Selecao star has already planned to return to Santos in the future. The Brazilian outfit, who were relegated to Serie B for the first time in 111 years last season, have retired the No.10 shirt for the late great Pele.
Texeira claimed back in December that he received a call from their former attacker asking for the No.11 shirt to be temporarily put on hold (via GOAL):
“Yesterday I received his call. He said: ‘President, you’ve already retired at 10 until you return to the first division, so retire at 11 until I return.’ I’m already happy (laughs), I’m already hopeful.”
Texeira made clear his wish for the five-time Ligue 1 champion to return:
“I’m going to put it in our group, so that we can study keeping 11 as well… We hope Neymar returns in the future. Let’s retire the 10 momentarily. And at 11 we will wait until our star returns.”
The No.11 jersey has been the Al-Hilal frontman’s shirt choice throughout his career. He donned the shirt number during his successful spells at Camp Nou.