The presentation of David Neres was the big deal on Friday. The Brazilian acquisition landed in the Netherlands around midday, and was presented to the Dutch press three hours later. Neres, who had arrived from Sao Paolo, showed his ambition immediately: ‘My goal is to win the Dutch championship and after that, play in the Champions League with Ajax.’
At first, Neres made a calm, almost shy impression at the press conference. This makes sense, of course, if you are 19 years old and you’re being welcomed on a new continent, everything is new, and everybody has high expectations of you. When Neres was asked whether he was a bit nervous, the ice was broken. “I can’t smile because I’m too cold”, said the young Brazilian, which earned him immediate laughs from the crowd.
If Marc Overmars is right, then Neres will bring a smile to the faces of many Ajacieds in the future. The Ajax director was at the press conference and called Neres a ‘true crowd pleaser’, a football player who will bring Ajax a lot of pleasure in the future.
A large sum was paid for Neres, but the win defender doesn’t see this as a burden. “It’s a big responsibility, but I’m going to do my best to play good football”, he said convincingly. “I’m going to take it easy and I know that it will work out.”
Neres said that this transfer is a dream come true for him. “I’ve always dreamed of playing in Europe. It’s fantastic that it’s happening now. Ajax is a big club, and I can learn a lot here.”
During the press conference, all of the questions and answers were translated by an interpreter. Neres can only speak Portuguese. This step to the Netherlands is a great adventure for him, and a jump into the deep end. “I don’t know much about the Netherlands, only a few things about Ajax and PSV. These are – I think – the biggest clubs in the Netherlands, with Ajax at the front.”
Neres’ illustrious predecessors in the Netherlands include Ronaldo and Romario. Both were a sensation at PSV. Neres was asked if he is familiar with Romario. “I know him quite well, but I think it’s hard to compare. He is himself, and I am myself.”
It’s clear that Neres is a man with a mission, someone who is determined to succeed in the Netherlands. The fact that Ajax wants to introduce him slowly is something that Neres understands, although he would love to showcase his talents immediately. “I’m ready to play. I hope to get accustomed here as soon as possible.”
Moreover, the Brazilian youth international is letting all of these impressions wash over him slowly. When asked what he knows about life in the Netherlands, his answer was succinct: “I’ve brought a lot of warm clothes with me”, was Nere’s answer, tongue in cheek. “I don’t know much about the food. I’m going to just focus on football.”