Neymar has completed his record-shattering transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, signing a five-year deal with the French club after it triggered his 222 million euros ($263m) release clause.
The 25-year-old Brazil forward, who will be presented to fans on Saturday, is committed to PSG until June 2022, the club said in a statement. Media reports have said he could earn around 550,000 euros ($653,000) per week.
“Today, with the arrival of Neymar Jr, I am convinced that we will come even closer, with the support of our faithful fans, to realizing our greatest dreams,” Nasser Al-Khelaifi, PSG’s president, said on Thursday.
Both Barcelona and Spain’s La Liga questioned whether the move complied with UEFA’s financial regulations, with the club saying they would report the deal 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 euros ($124.7m).
With the Spanish giants certain to be in the market for a replacement for the Brazilian forward – and with a hefty budget to invest – the Neymar move could set off a chain reaction of deals at top clubs across Europe.
Neymar said he was looking forward to delivering trophies for the French club.
“I am extremely happy to join Paris Saint-Germain,” he said in the club’s 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.
“From today, I will do everything I can to help my new team mates, to open up new horizons for my club and to bring happiness to its millions of supporters around the world.”
Neymar is escaping the shadow of five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi at Barcelona and will become the biggest star in the French league in a team without the track record of success to match his former club.
While Barcelona has lifted the European Cup five times, PSG is yet to win the competition.
Barcelona said on Thursday that Neymar’s release clause had been paid.
Barcelona said in a statement on their website they would pass on details of the operation to European football body, UEFA, “so that they can determine the disciplinary responsibilities that may arise from this case”.
Barcelona did not specify why they believed there might be a disciplinary issue relating to the deal. Javier Tebas, head of La Liga had earlier said that PSG were engaged in “financial doping” and the Spanish body would also complain to UEFA.
Tebas referred to PSG, owned by Qatari Sports Investments, as a “state-backed club”.
UEFA, whose financial fair play rules ban clubs from spending more than their generated revenue, declined to comment but a spokesman noted that international transfers are within the remit of global governing body FIFA.
A source from Spain’s La Liga said earlier on Thursday that the league had rejected the payment of the clause to them after Neymar’s lawyers visited its headquarters in Madrid to try to settle the transfer and pay the fee.
Leading coaches such as Arsenal’s Arsene Wenger and Manchester United’s Jose Mourinho lamented that the move could cause even greater inflation in transfer fees and player wages.
“It also looks like the inflation is accelerating,” said Wenger, whose 21 years at Arsenal have been characterized by – relatively – prudent spending.
“It’s beyond calculation and beyond rationality.”
Source: News agencies