Ney­mar’s fu­ture is up in the air

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - JOSEPH WIL­SON BARCELONA, SPAIN

— Barcelona is wor­ried, very wor­ried, that soc­cer star Ney­mar might be headed to Paris-Saint Ger­main.

The Brazil striker is ex­pected to be at prac­tice on Wed­nes­day, but no one seems to know if he’ll ac­cept a world record trans­fer or show up for train­ing.

Just in case, Barcelona is mak­ing moves to pro­tect $30.7 mil­lion US that would be paid to Ney­mar if he stays in Spain, ac­cord­ing to a club of­fi­cial.

The of­fi­cial, who spoke on cus­tom­ary con­di­tion of anonymity, said “given doubts con­cern­ing the fu­ture of the player and while the sit­u­a­tion is re­solved” the money is be­ing held from Ney­mar.

“What the club does with the money, it does not know yet, given the un­cer­tainty of the fu­ture,” the of­fi­cial told The As­so­ci­ated Press.

The 25-year-old Ney­mar would be due the money now as per his con­tract re­newal last year. But the amount is tiny com­pared to the $262 mil­lion US that PSG would have to pay to trig­ger the re­lease clause in­cluded in Ney­mar’s con­tract.

Ney­mar is sup­posed to ar­rive in Barcelona on Tues­day af­ter some pub­lic­ity events in China — both per­sonal and for Barcelona. He is sched­uled to re­turn to train­ing at Barcelona’s train­ing grounds just out­side the city on Wed­nes­day.

There are grow­ing ru­mours that Ney­mar, who has had four sea­sons of win­ning tro­phies and scor­ing spec­tac­u­lar goals at Barcelona, will bolt for PSG.

Part of the gos­sip sur­round­ing the pos­si­ble trans­fer is that Ney­mar was to meet with doc­tors in Qatar for a med­i­cal. PSG is owned by a Qatari com­pany.

But the Barcelona of­fi­cial said the “club is not aware of any med­i­cal exam of the player with PSG.”

Ney­mar’s fa­ther, who acts as his agent and is also named Ney­mar, ar­rived in Barcelona on Mon­day. He was swarmed by jour­nal­ists at the air­port but re­vealed noth­ing about his son’s in­ten­tions.

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