Neymar completes world record €222m PSG move
Paris St-Germain finally signed Neymar from Barcelona last night, meeting his €222 million buy-out clause after the stand-off between the clubs threatened to turn into a major dispute between the Spanish and French leagues.
The 25-year-old Brazil forward has signed a five-year deal with PSG, who announced his capture just before 9pm last night.
"I am extremely happy to join Paris Saint-Germain," he said in a statement.
"Since I arrived in Europe, the club has always been one of the most competitive and most ambitious. And the biggest challenge, what most motivated me to join my new team-mates is to help the club to conquer the titles that their fans want.
"Paris Saint-Germain's ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings. I played four seasons in Europe and I feel ready to take the challenge. From today, I will do everything I can to help my new teamates, to open up new horizons for my club and to bring happiness to its millions of supporters around the world."
Earlier in the day, Barcelona had announced that, as per Spanish league rules, Neymar's lawyers had deposited the money at the club which triggered the "unilateral termination" of his contract in Spain. But not before the Brazilian's lawyers had been sent packing by the Spanish Liga office in Madrid where they had originally tried to make the payment.
A statement from Barcelona confirmed that Neymar's buy-out fee had been paid and he was no longer contracted to the club.
Barcelona said: “On Thursday, Neymar Jr’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.
“As such, 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.”
Barcelona remain sceptical that Qatari-owned PSG can pass the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations which will determine whether they can play in the Champions League in the 2018-2019 season – the earliest the Neymar deal can be taken into account by the governing body. The animosity between the two sides in recent days is just a taste of the likely reaction to next year’s Uefa FFP verdict on PSG’s accounts.
Neymar’s lawyer, Juan de Dios Crespo, had been sent away from the Madrid Liga offices after officials, who have accused PSG of “financial doping”, said they would not accept it.
Undeterred, Crespo headed for Barcelona and the club’s offices, where he was finally able to make the payment, supported by the French league (LFP), which issued a statement unreservedly backing PSG’s position. The French league said: “The LFP is surprised and does not understand the refusal of La Liga to simply accept the payment of the release clause of Neymar. The LFP asks the Liga to abide by the Fifa rules and its responsibilities.”
In response, Barcelona have made inquiries about signing Kylian Mbappe, Monaco’s 18-year-old striker (©The Daily Telegraph)