Friday Kickoff: Neymar not for sale, Schelotto's club relegated and more

Friday Kickoff: Neymar not for sale, Schelotto's club relegated and more

South American Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Neymar not for sale, Schelotto's club relegated and more

Neymar (Reuters Pictures)

As up-and-coming Brazilian star Neymar gets set for one of the more important summers of his career, his club has come out and said he is not for sale.

Despite Santos attracting lucrative offers from some of the biggest clubs in the world for its star forward, club president Luis Alvaro de Oliveira said in a statement that "In light of continuous speculation in the national and international press about the future of our player, I feel obliged to communicate the departure of Neymar is non-negotiable."

Neymar, 19, helped guide Santos to the Copa Libertadores championship and is expected to play a big role in Brazil's quest for a Copa America crown. Brazil opens its tournament against Venezuela on Sunday.

Here are a few more stories to get your Friday going:

GIMNASIA RELEGATED IN SCHELOTTO'S LAST MATCH

Guillermo Barros Schelotto's playing career came to an end in an unfitting way, as his Gimnasia La Plata was relegated from Argentina's top flight.

The 38-year-old former Columbus Crew Designated Player and MLS MVP retired after the match, in which Gimnasia tied San Martin, 1-1. San Martin took the first leg of their tie, 1-0, forcing Gimnasia to suffer the same fate as River Plate — relegation to the Nacional B.

FULHAM TAKES FIRST LEG

No Clint Dempsey, no problem.

Fulham coasted past NSI Runavik, 3-0, in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League first-round qualifier at Craven Cottage on Thursday without Dempsey in the lineup.

Damien Duff, Danny Murphy and Andrew Johnson scored the goals for Fulham, which gave Martin Jol a victory in his debut as team manager.

The club will look to hold onto its aggregate lead in next Thursday's away leg.

NUNO GOMES SIGNS WITH BRAGA

All Nuno Gomes-to-MLS speculation can end for the time being. The veteran Portuguese striker will remain in Portugal after signing with Sporting Braga on a free transfer from Benfica on Thursday,

Gomes, 34, joins Braga on a one-year deal after an extended run with Benfica.

GERMANY WOMEN ADVANCE

Germany joined France atop Group A of the FIFA Women's World Cup by beating Nigeria on Thursday, 1-0, and clinching a place in the quarterfinals.

The two European nations will battle for quarterfinal positioning in their group-stage finale. France holds the goal-differential tiebreaker, but Germany can claim first place in the group with a head-to-head victory.

Canada and Nigeria, meanwhile, will play each other in a meaningless finale before their tournament runs come to an end.

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Do you really think Santos won't sell Neymar? What's your favorite Schelotto memory? Think Fulham goes on another deep Europa League run this season? Think Nuno Gomes would be a good fit in MLS? Who do you see winning the Germany-France WWC match?

Share your thoughts below.

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