BARCELONA: Barcelona host Manchester City in the Champions League tomorrow night with prospects on the pitch looking better than prospects off it.
The Spanish champions hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Manchester which should provide a solid foundation to claim a place in the quarter-finals while controversy continues to swirl around the Neymar transfer scandal.
Ahead of the Champions League second round second leg president Josep Maria Bartomeu insisted the club had nothing wrong and that a voluntary payment of €13.5m in tax on the deal was not an attempt to forestall more serious attention from the authorities.
The transfer fee, initially disclosed as €57.1m, was more than €90m. The saga has already cost Sandro Rosell the club presidency. According to latest reports in Catalonia Neymar’s agreed salary itself is €56.7m, made up by a signing bonus of €10m with a salary guarantee of €44m and an agent’s commission of €2.7m
Bartomeo, in an interview with the BBC, said: “Barca is a very well known brand name in the world and we have to take care of Barca of the club and doing this is prudent situation to keep the good image of our club.
“We don’t agree with the judge, of course. For us, this is an absurd and unfair situation because we did everything correctly in signing Neymar to FC Barcelona.
“Barcelona acted in the proper way but if somebody thinks that there is damage to the name of Barcelona then there is damage to be repaired. We are not happy with the situation but we will defend our club very strongly.”