Neymar says adios to Barca
BARCELONA — Neymar’s potential world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain moved a step closer on Wednesday as the Brazilian informed his Barcelona teammates he is leaving the club, a Barca representative told AFP.
“The player came to train as scheduled and announced to his teammates that he is leaving,” said the source.
“The coach has given him permission to not train and to manage resolving his future.”
Speculation over the 25-year-old’s future has dominated the first few weeks of new Barca boss Ernesto Valverde’s reign with PSG reportedly willing to pay Neymar’s $260 million buyout clause.
Such a fee would smash the current record $111 million Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last year.
Neymar arrived back in Barcelona on Tuesday from a fleeting promotional tour to China after playing in all three of Barca’s pre-season matches in the United States against Juve, Manchester United and Real Madrid.
He arrived for training at 9 am local time, but left less than an hour later.
Presuming both clubs don’t come to a late agreement, the buyout clause would have to be paid to Barcelona via Spain’s La Liga to free the player from the contract he signed last year and runs until 2021.
However, La Liga president Javier Tebas has threatened not to accept PSG’s money over what he perceives as a failure on the French side’s part to comply with UEFA’s financial fair play rules (FFP).
“We will not accept this money from a club like PSG,” Tebas told Madrid sports daily AS on Wednesday. “Especially when this club is infringing rules and laws.”
Barcelona has also threatened to report PSG to UEFA over any potential breach of FFP.
Clubs can be sanctioned by UEFA for making a loss of more than 30 million euros ($36 million) over a threeyear period.
Qatari-owned PSG has already been fined and saw its Champions League squad limited by UEFA for breaches of FFP in 2014.
Neymar was traveling back from China and had earlier posted a video on social media, apparently from Dubai airport, amid speculation he could have been bound for Paris. It was rumored the player had his medical in Dubai.
The Brazilian, who was in Shanghai on Monday to appear at a sponsor’s engagement, had also posted a photo on Instagram with the caption in Portuguese: “Lunch at halfway”.
In another video posted from the air, Neymar played around with an image-messaging app that superimposed a Spanish flag and a small plane on his T-shirt — suggesting he was headed back to Barcelona. The decor in that video was identifiable as from an Emirates flight.
Neymar, though, had a nasty surprise awaiting him upon his return as Barcelona has blocked payment of a $30.5 million bonus he is due, a source at the club said.
“This payment has been placed with a notary pending to see if the player continues,” the source, who refused to be named, told AFP.
The renewal bonus was agreed a year ago when Neymar extended his contract with Barcelona until 2021, and was due to be paid to the player after he completed a year.
But the club has decided to put it on hold while waiting to see how his transfer situation evolves.
The contract extension that Neymar signed also increased an early termination clause from $230 million to $260 million — a sum that PSG is reportedly willing to cough up.
$30.5 million the bonus due to be paid by Barcelona to Neymar, which has been blocked amid his potential move to PSG
Barcelona’s Neymar attends a Tokyo media conference on July 13.