Santos striker Neymar: I have no regrets over snubbing Chelsea, but I still dream to play in Europe in the future

The Brazil starlet still harbours hopes of a switch to a European giant, but stresses that he made the right choice in staying in his homeland for the time being
Santos striker Neymar has stressed he has “no regrets” after snubbing a move to Chelsea last summer, but admits that he still dreams of playing for a major European side.

The Brazilian starlet was courted by the Blues in the summer of 2010, but turned down the chance to switch to Stamford Bridge in favour of penning a new deal in his homeland.

The 19-year-old has previously stated that he wants to remain with Santos until after the World Cup in Brazil in 2014, but beyond that the lure of Europe may prove too strong, with Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid heavily monitoring his progress.

When asked about Chelsea’s offer from last year, he told France Football: "I have no regrets, I decided to stay in my country and I tell myself that I was right.

"If I was transfered to Chelsea, I would not have won the Copa Libertadores this year, a title that Santos was waiting to win for 50 years.”

Neymar spent a week training with Real Madrid back in 2006, and confessed that while he is happy to remain with Santos for now, the interest from Spain is flattering.

He continued: “For the moment I want to stay here in Santos. I thank both big clubs, giants of football, for their interest about me, but I made a life choice, and that is to stay at Santos for now.

“I trained with players of my generation in Madrid and it was a wonderful experience. I scored some goals but I decided to come back to Brazil - that was not the right moment to quit my country. I dream to play in Europe, that is sure, but I do not know when I will do it.”

If he were to pursue a move to the Bernabeu in the future, Neymar would follow in the footsteps of his idol Robinho, who spent three seasons with the La Liga giants having begun his career with Santos.

And the young protégé admitted that he realised a dream when he got the chance to play alongside his hero for a brief spell last season.

When asked about his favourite player, he said: "Robinho, since I was very young I have admired him.

"I saw him play at Santos in 2002 with Diego, Elano, Renato - I was 10. I did not have the money to go to the stadium so I only saw him on TV.

"I played alongside him last year, he was there for six months before the World Cup and it was wonderful to play at professional level with him. A dream came true for me.”