SAO PAULO (AP) One of the six survivors of the air crash that killed almost all of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense in 2016 announced his playing retirement on Friday.
Neto, a 34-year-old defender, spent two years rehabilitating after the crash that killed 71 people in Colombia. He returned to training in March. But in an interview he said his pain was too intense to play again.
“I am in agreement with doctors and the club. I wanted a farewell match, but I chose not to,” Neto told TV Globo.
“My body couldn’t take it anymore. The pains were bigger than the pleasure.”
He said his knees and back hurt the most.
Chapecoense’s plane went down en route to the team’s first South American tournament final against Colombia’s Atletico Nacional. It ran out of fuel near Medellin.
The southern Brazilian team was later awarded the Copa Sudamericana title, despite not playing the final.
Neto said Chapecoense was considering keeping him as a board member. The club was mired in debt and relegated to the second division this year.
Two other players survived the crash: Alan Ruschel, a 30-year-old defender, was still active and on loan to first division club Goias, and Jackson Follmann, a goalkeeper who lost part of his right leg, has hopes of becoming a Brazilian Paralympic athlete.
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) Barcelona says Brazilian goalkeeper Neto will sign a four-year contract with the Spanish champions.
The transfer completes a swap a day after Barcelona sold Jasper Cillessen to Valencia.
Barcelona says it is paying 26 million euros ($29.5 million) plus possibly another 9 million euros ($10.2 million) in variables for Neto. Valencia paid Barcelona 35 million euros ($40 million) for Cillessen.
Neto will replace Cillessen, who played as a backup for Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the Champions League and the Spanish league and only regularly started in the Copa del Rey.
The 29-year-old Neto helped Valencia qualify for the Champions League with a fourth-place finish for the past two seasons in Spain. He also played in Italy at Juventus as a backup to Gianluigi Buffon and at Fiorentina after starting at Brazilian club Paranaense.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
After spending three seasons at Barcelona mostly as a backup, goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen will now have the opportunity to earn significant playing time as the Dutchman has reportedly completed a move to Valencia, with Neto going in the opposite direction.
Hector Gomez of Valencia-centric show Tribuna VCF reports that Cillessen has completed his medical with Valencia.
According to a number of Spanish reports, including AS and Dario SPORT, the two deals will be done separately and completely at slightly different times for equal amounts of money to help out Valencia in financial fair play. Neto will move to Barcelona before the end of the fiscal year on June 30, while Cillessen’s deal will be officially completed after the start of the 2019/20 fiscal year on July 1, helping Valencia bank the $34 million transfer fee in the recently completed season before sending that money right back officially part of next season.
The 30-year-old Cillessen has been with Barcelona since joining from Ajax in 2016, making just five La Liga appearances for the club while backing up Marc-Andre ter Stegen. He did serve as the regular domestic cup goalkeeper, helping Barcelona to Copa del Rey titles in 2016/17 and 2017/18 before losing last season to Valencia in the final. Despite not playing much for Barcelona, Cillessen is still the starter for the Dutch national team and has been since mid-2017 when he won the job back from Jeroen Zoet and Maarten Stekelenburg.
Neto, meanwhile, presumably returns to a backup role he served at Juventus for two years, stuck behind Gianluigi Buffon. He was the starter for Valencia the past two seasons, helping the club to two consecutive fourth-place finishes in La Liga play.