Barcelona set to renew Neymar's contract, Dani Alves leaving

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Barcelona, June 3: Neymar is set to renew his contract with Barcelona, while Dani Alves is leaving after winning 23 titles in eight years with the Spanish champion.

Barcelona director Robert Fernandez on Thursday put an end to speculation about Neymar's possible departure, saying the Brazil striker was close to signing a new and lengthy contract.

FC Barcelona's Neymar, left, duels for the ball against Getafe's Emi Buendia, second right, during a Spanish La Liga soccer match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain,March 12, 2016.

"Neymar will stay," Fernandez said. "He will reach an agreement with Barca and he will be here for a long time. The club will make it public when the (contract) extension is to be made."

There have been rumors about the star striker wanting to leave Spain, especially after recent problems with the country's tax office. Media reports in Brazil said teams in England were ready to make huge offers for the 24-year-old player after his Barcelona contract ends in 2018.

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Neymar scored 31 goals in 48 games for Barcelona this season. As for Alves, Fernandez said the player made a "personal decision" to leave and the club would respect it. The Brazil defender was reportedly close to a transfer to Italy's Juventus, although the deal had not been made official.

"Alves is a much loved player and his behavior on and off the field has been fantastic," Fernandez said. "But it is his decision and we have to respect that."

The outspoken Alves won 23 titles with the club since moving from Sevilla in 2008, becoming the foreign player with the second-most appearances as a Barcelona player.

The club also said 20-year-old forward Sandro was leaving, while goalkeepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo will remain with the club for next season.

Fernandez said there were ongoing negotiations about the future of Marc Bartra and Douglas, and the club was also in talks with Villarreal for the return of attacking midfielder Denis Suarez.

The director said there had been no negotiations to sign Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos, and admitted that the club was not able to reach a deal with Celta Vigo for Spain striker Manuel "Nolito" Agudo.

Barcelona won its second straight Spanish league title this year, and sixth in the last eight seasons. The club also won the Copa del Rey, but failed in its attempt at the treble when it was eliminated by Atletico Madrid in the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

AP 

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