KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- The most astonishing transfer in world football history is a fact: Brazilian superstar Neymar has concluded the multi-million soap opera by completing his record-shattering €222m move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.
The 25-year-old, who will be presented to his new fans tomorrow, has signed to stay until June 2022 at around €550,000 per week.
PSG’s Qatari president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: “Today, with the arrival of Neymar Jr, I am convinced that we will come even closer, with the support of our faithful fans, to realising our greatest dreams.”
Both Barcelona and the Spanish league have queried whether the size of the deal takes PSG beyond UEFA’s financial regulations, with the league having refused to accept the buyout payment and both threatening to complain to European football’s governing body.
The transfer doubles the previous world record fee paid when Paul Pogba moved last August from Juventus to Manchester United for €105m last summer.
Neymar, under the terms of a five-year contract, would receive €45m-per-year in wages which breaks down as €865k per week and values the entire outlay facing PSG at €447m.
The deal was finally wrapped up by the French club after an early-morning snag in Spain when Juan de Dios Crespo, a sports law specialist from Ruiz-Huerta & Crespo, attempted to deposit with LaLiga the cheque €222m to buy out Neymar’s contract which, agreed less than a year ago, runs until June 30, 2021.
A LaLiga spokesman said: “We can confirm that the legal representatives of the player have come to the league to deposit the clause value and that this has been rejected ”
Ideally PSG had wanted the Brazilian to make his debut in the French championship – which starts this weekend – against Amiens tomorrow/Saturday but this seems unlikely.
LaLiga president Javier Tebas has warned that the organisation would not accept the payment by PSG to trigger the release clause, saying it was potentially in breach of UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules. Under the those rules, a club’s wage bill must not exceed 70pc of its revenue.
Responsibility for policing FFP is a matter for UEFA and not for any individual league or federation.
April – Rumours of a move away from the Nou Camp surface when Neymar’s agent Wagner Ribeiro says the Brazilian striker has a £154m release clause in his contract which expires in 2018, and would discuss a move to PSG if the French champions showed an interest.
October – Neymar signs a new five-year contract until 2021, increasing his release clause.
May – Rumours resurface again after Barcelona end a disappointing La Liga campaign and Neymar fails to win the Ballon d’Or.
June 29 – Speculation intensifies over Neymar’s future as transfer window opens.
July 17 – Reports emerge in the Spanish media suggesting PSG have met the player’s release clause.
July 19 – Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu tells BBC Sport Neymar will not leave.
July 20 – PSG coach Unai Emery tells French newspaper L’Equipe they needed a player of the calibre of Neymar to compete with the big clubs.
July 21 – Neymar posts an Instagram picture of himself in thoughtful contemplation, sparking renewed speculation.
July 23 – Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde shrugs off PSG reports, and tells reporters in New Jersey: “We want Neymar with us. We know his value on the pitch and what he brings to the locker room.”
July 26 – Defender Gerard Pique posts a picture of himself and Neymar on Twitter with the caption ‘Se queda’ (‘He stays’). Pique later downplays the post, saying it was a “gut feeling” rather than a hard fact, but adds he hopes Neymar stays at Barcelona.
July 29 – Barca striker Luis Suarez tells reporters in Miami: “As soon as he clarifies the situation it’s better for us and him. He will have his say when he is ready and as a team-mate I will support him. Our relationship won’t change. We want him to stay.”
July 30 – Neymar’s Brazilian team-mate Dani Alves says he “hoped Neymar would join him at PSG” but insists he isn’t using his personal friendship to sway the Barcelona forward’s decision.
July 31 – La Liga chairman Javier Tebas says he would file a complaint with Uefa for FFP breaches against PSG if any move is made for the player- “We will make a complaint to Uefa and if they don’t do anything we will take it to the competition tribunals in Switzerland and Brussels. And, from there, we don’t rule out going through the courts in France and Spain.”
August 2 – Neymar is given permission by Barcelona to leave after telling the club he sees his future elsewhere.
August 3 – La Liga rejects an attempt by Neymar’s lawyer’s to buy out his contract.