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FC Barcelona

Neymar pays Barcelona a record €222 million for freedom to move to Paris Saint-Germain

Barcelona confirm that ‘Neymar Jnr’s legal representatives made the payment of 222 million in the player’s name

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 2:52am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 9:58am

Brazil star Neymar has cleared the way for him to join Paris Saint-Germain by paying a 222 million (HK$2.06 billion) buyout clause on Thursday that frees him from his contract with Barcelona.

There was no immediate confirmation of a transfer by PSG. But Neymar’s representative Wagner Ribeiro had already said on Wednesday that PSG was willing to pay the clause.

Barcelona said in a statement that “Neymar Jnr’s legal representatives visited in person the club’s offices and made the payment of 222 million in the player’s name with regards to the unilateral termination of the contract that united both parties.”

Neymar has signed a five-year deal with PSG.

The payment of the clause shatters the previous world record transfer of 105 million that Manchester United paid for France midfielder Paul Pogba last year.

Barcelona also said that “the club will pass on to Uefa the details of the above operation so that they can determine the disciplinary responsibilities that may arise from this case.”

The comment follows a claim by Spanish league president Javier Tebas on Wednesday that Neymar’s move would break Financial Fair Play rules introduced by Uefa, European soccer’s ruling body.

Barcelona did all it could to stop Neymar from leaving, and had vowed to complain to Uefa if his seemingly untouchable release clause was triggered.

The payment of the clause directly to the club was the second attempt Neymar’s representatives had made on Thursday to break his bond with Barcelona.

Earlier in the day, his lawyer Juan de Dios Crespo had tried to deposit the enormous sum at the Spanish league’s offices in Madrid, but he was turned away.

Tebas had told Spanish sports daily AS that he wouldn’t let the league act as an intermediary to an operation that he, like Barcelona, believed violated Uefa’s FFP rules. He had called PSG a “state-supported club.” The club’s Qatari owners are closely linked to the energy-rich ruling family.

‘I love you’: Barcelona star Lionel Messi posts emotional farewell message to PSG-bound Neymar

Neymar ended weeks of silence by telling Barcelona’s executives, players and coach on Wednesday that his intention was to leave the club after four seasons.

Barcelona spokesman Josep Vives responded that the club would not negotiate and would demand the full payment of the clause. Last year, Neymar signed a new contract with Barcelona that tied him to the Catalan club through 2021.

In France, Neymar’s move was seen as a done deal on Thursday.

Having met PSG president Nasser Al-Khalaifi at a charity event, French president Emmanuel Macron took the opportunity to give him “congratulations, I understand there’s been some good news.”

France’s budget minister also had reason to celebrate. Gerald Darmanin told France-Inter radio “It’s better that this football player pays his taxes in France than elsewhere.”

However, Lyon club president Jean-Michel Aulas launched a barb at his big-spending rival in a message posted on Twitter: “Congrats to Nasser for the realisation of this worldwide unique operation: I’m impatient to know about the real costs of the operation.”

At 25 years old, Neymar is already one of soccer’s top talents.

Neymar scored 105 goals playing alongside Lionel Messi and was a key playmaker for Barcelona as it won a Champions League, two Spanish leagues, three Copa del Reys, one Club World Cup, a Uefa Super Cup and two Spanish Super Cups.

The expectation at PSG will be for him to lead it to elusive Champions League success.