KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING —- Barcelona, in a manoeuvre redolent more with wounded pride than cash, intend to sue departed Brazilian superstar Neymar over his world record exit to Paris Saint-Germain.

The Catalan club have said, in an official statement, that they want Neymar to return the contract renewal bonus he was paid after upgrading his pay deal in the face of initial interest from PSG last year. They also want a punitive fee and interest. 

Neymar . . . now a winner in France with PSG

Neymar had the right to receive €26m for maintaining the contract renewal until July 31. Barcelona want not only their money back but also €8.5m for damages and 10pc more in interest.

The Barcelona submission claims that, if Neymar does not make the payments, these will be pursued with PSG.

The statement said: “In the lawsuit, the Club demands the player return the already paid sum for his contract renewal as he has not completed his contract; €8.5 million in damages; and an additional 10 per cent because of delayed payment.

Contract extension

“FC Barcelona has started these proceedings to protect its interests following Neymar’s decision to buy out his contract just months after he signed an extension until 2021. This legal defence will be carried out following the established procedures with the competent authorities without entering into any verbal arguments with the player.”

Neymar transferred to PSG after the French club agreed to pay his buycout clause for a world record fee of €222m. His departure has created a major rift between the Barcelona board and the senior players which might even lead Lionel Messi to follow the Brazilian out of the club.

Hours after the Barcelona announcement of legal action, Messi published pictures of himself with Neymar on social media from the birthday celebration of Neymar’s son Davi Lucca in Catalonia on Tuesday.

Neymar’s poor opinion of the Barcelona board is no secret.

After scoring twice on his home debut for PSG in a 6-2 win over Toulouse at the weekend he said: “I spent four beautiful years there and parted happy. But with them [the board], no.

“For me, they are not the people who should be there, for the direction of Barca. Barca deserve much better.”