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Vilanova praises ´important signing´ Neymar

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova believes Neymar chose sporting opportunities over financial gain by joining the club ahead of Real Madrid.

The 21-year-old has signed a five-year deal with the La Liga champions after Santos accepted a 28-million euro offer.

Speaking after his side’s 2-0 win over Espanyol on Sunday, Vilanova was thrilled to beat off rival suitors to capture their long-term transfer target.

“We have to congratulate the technical staff for the signing of Neymar,” he told reporters.

“It is an important signing. We have been very attentive for some time because he could have had other, and better, proposals.

“I also have to congratulate Neymar for choosing a sporting project and not a financial one. I have confidence he will do well in Europe and he will help us to become even greater.

“Neymar is the player we were looking for. We asked two-and-a-half years ago. The club has been very successful and has done things very well, as we did with Jordi Alba last year. He progressed very well with the rest.

“His qualities are well known. All we are interested in is that he is a high-level player.

“If they say Neymar is a ‘YouTube player’ then it’s a good thing, because he has had some great games and great goals. He has chosen Barcelona because he believes he can adapt well to our play. If he had been looking for money, there would have been nothing for Barca to do.

“It’s a dream to have an attack like this. With so many better players we will have more chances to win.

“Now, we have to combine them in the best way, as we have done before. If Neymar comes it is because Barca are a long-term option for him.”

Alexis Sanchez and Pedro struck the goals to seal a win against local rivals Espanyol on Sunday to keep Barca on track to reach 100 points for the season.

Vilanova insists his side will do their best to reach the milestone even though it will not make up for the disappointment of their Champions League exit.

“We played a great game,” he said.

“It was a shame we had injuries at a key moment. The team has a good level and we could have passed the semi-finals and the final of the Champions League otherwise. That’s already happened and I congratulate Bayern, but I insist, we have reached the end of the season at a good level.

“It’s better not to talk about these things (the 100 points tally). Now we have won game to go, one victory, and we will have to try to win it. Although it is not a title, we are going to try.”

Sun 26 May, 2013
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