Sao Paulo, Dec 12 (EFE) .- Brazilian football star Neymar requested relegated Santos to rest his number 11 shirt until his eventual return to the club, the club’s new president, Marcelo Teixeira, announced on Monday.
“Yesterday (Sunday), I received a call from him, and he told me, ‘President, since you have removed the 10 until Santos returns to the first division, then remove the 11 until I return,’” Teixeira told the TV Santa Cecilia channel from the port city of Santos.
Neymar’s request was interpreted by Teixeira as a sign of the eventual return of the player to Santos, a club where the former Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain star was groomed as a youngster.
Santos will play in the second division for the first time in 2024 after its unexpected relegation from the Brazilian first division this year.
Teixeira said that they would study the matter and would possibly save the number 11 shirt until Neymar’s return at an unspecified date.
Neymar is currently under contract with Saudi Arabian club Al Hilal, which will run until June 2025.
On Saturday, in his first press conference after being elected as the new president of Santos, Teixeira announced that Santos would refrain from using the number 10 shirt of its greatest idol, Pele, who died at the age of 82 on Dec. 29 last year.
“We are going to momentarily retire the 10 and 11. No one can wear the number 10 anymore, which will only be worn by a new star when we go up to the first division. And the 11 will also wait until our star player returns,” Teixeira said.
The decision now has to be ratified by club members.
On Wednesday, on the last day of the Brazilian league, Santos lost to Fortaleza at home by 1-2 and was relegated for the first time in its 111-year history.
The relegation caused violent demonstrations by its fans, who invaded the field, looted commercial premises, and set buses and cars on fire in the surroundings of the stadium. EFE