Sepp Blatter: Neymar must move to Europe to win Ballon d’Or

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FIFA president Sepp Blatter has told Brazil star Neymar he will never win the Ballon d’Or if he is not playing in Europe.

Blatter had the advice for Neymar in the press conference after the announcement of the three-man shortlist for the 2012 FIFA Ballon d’Or, from which the Santos forward was absent.

Neymar was present on the original list of nominees for the award, but did not make it into the final three, those places were taken up by Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta, alongside Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Many have suggested Neymar should have been one of the final nominees for the Ballon d’Or, but Blatter was doubtful over whether that would happen if the 20-year-old continued to ply his trade in his native Brazil.

“Neymar is outstanding, but it's difficult for anyone not playing in Europe to be one of the finalists,” he said is quoted as saying form Spanish newspaper Marca.

“The standard of football in Brazil is high, but European football is the benchmark of club football right now.”

Lionel Messi is the favourite to take the award, which would be a record fourth successive triumph, although the vote is likely to be close as Cristiano Ronaldo has been in sensational form for most of the year, while Iniesta has already taken home the inaugural UEFA Best Player in Europe Award earlier this year.

Neymar may have missed out on the shortlist for the big prize but there will be some consolation in the fact he is one of the three men nominated for the FIFA Puskas Goal of the Year Award.

The nomination is for his incredible solo effort against Internacional in the Copa Libertadores in March, which you can watch below.

Full recognition for Neymar may not be too far away as he has been linked with a move to Europe numerous times in recent months, most notably as a possible new team-mate for Lionel Messi at Barcelona.


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