Who needs the boys from Brazil?

Does Europe really need Neymar? Does Neymar need Europe? Recent economic trends may suggest otherwise

(photo: Michel Rios cc license)

Neymar, Santos’ young star, signed this week a big sponsorship deal with electronic giant Panasonic. He also have a lucrative deal with Santos, and with being courted by big European clubs like Barcelona and Chelsea, it is worth asking: does Europe really need Neymar? And does Neymar really need Europe?

Traffic Sports, a sports company which buy contracts of young footballers all over Brazil, lend them to teams and then get a share of the transfer fee when players are sold, believes that with Neymar’s current commercial contracts, it will be a bad move for him, financially, to leave Brazil for Europe.

Brazilian soccer has never seen such an influx of cash coming it’s way. The Brazilian league generates more money now from shirt sponsorship than the Spanish or  Italian league. Combined with great tax exemptions, the clubs can lure back big stars like Ronaldinho, who is earning a minimum of €5 million per season with Flamengo. That sum can reach up to €11.25 million through sponsorship deals signed by Flamengo.

Hardly anyone in Europe can afford to pay such wages, and with the Financial Fair Play knocking on the door it’s hard to see how European clubs will manage to lure Brazilian superstars in the future.

But do European really clubs need those superstars?

In order to collect benefit of investing in a Brazilian player, an European club must buy them and make them feel at home – this is an expensive process. Usually the investment does not pay back an equal dividend. The greatest Brazilian attacking superstars – Adriano, Ronaldinho, Robinho and even the fat Ronaldo gave their teams only few great seasons. Each developed an appetite for the good time and the night clubs. Only a handful – like Kaka, Diego and Juninho Pernambucano – can be relied on to be consisted like European superstars (Cristiano Ronaldo) or superstars developed in Europe (Messi).

So it just might be good for everyone if the big Brazilian superstars stay in Brazil. They will make the big bucks they could have had in Europe, and European clubs can save their money for skillful and determined Brazilian squad players like Gilberto Silva, Elano Felipe Melo,  Ramires, or defensive superstars such as Maicon and Daniel Alves.

The big money in Brazil also means that clubs from smaller nations in Europe will find it harder to find a Brazilian diamond in the rough. It also probably means that Argentina will become a biggest exporter of footballers. In 2010 Argentina became a larger exporter of footballers than Brazil.

Just another big question derives from the economical boom in Brazil: Will the Brazilian clubs be strong enough to lure European stars to Brazil?

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One Comment

  1. D! added these pithy words on March 3, 2011 | Permalink

    That might be the start of a process more important the the European footballers than Bosman.
    It might also prove that the way to solve problems in the west is not by abusing the 3rd world more but rather in helping them to build their economy.
    I hope that Brazilian clubs, and other nations, can lure footballers from outside the continent but that should be done in the same way which is good to European football; Take those who fit the best and needed most and invest in your own talents. This will bring back some of the lost connection between local footballers, clubs and fans all around.
    It might also enable Brazilian fans to see their stars as well as European fans to see their national sides improving.

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