Money never my mo­ti­va­tion, claims record sign­ing Ney­mar

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

MONEY was never the mo­ti­vat­ing fac­tor for Ney­mar’s record € 222 mil­lion (R3.5bn) trans­fer from Barcelona, the world’s most ex­pen­sive foot­baller said on his ar­rival at Paris St Ger­main yes­ter­day.

Be­fore tak­ing to the pitch at the Parc des Princes sta­dium to show off his skills and new PSG shirt, the Brazil­ian for­ward told re­porters he had moved to France was be­cause he “wanted a big­ger chal­lenge”.

“My heart made this de­ci­sion and I fol­lowed my heart,” said the player who will re­port­edly be paid € 45 mil­lion a year. “Money was never my mo­ti­va­tion ... I want to be happy, and I want my fam­ily to be happy. I’m re­ally sad to hear that peo­ple think this way.

“If it was just about money, I could have gone some­where else,” he said.

The jaw-drop­ping deal is the first time that a world record trans­fer fee has been dou­bled in one swoop. The pre­vi­ous record was mid­fielder Paul Pogba’s move last year from Ju­ven­tus to Manch­ester United for € 105 mil­lion.

Sports busi­ness ex­perts say the trans­fer – which could lead to a se­ries of big-money deals across Europe – makes lit­tle busi­ness sense for PSG and may have more to do with its Qatari own­ers’ de­sire to ex­ert “soft power” at a time when the wealthy Gulf Arab state is be­ing iso­lated by its neigh­bours.

Club president Nasser Al-Khe­laifi, who in­tro­duced the player as “an idol for the whole world”, said the value of the club had risen by half a bil­lion dol­lars since Ney­mar’s sign­ing.

He was not con­cerned about pos­si­bly fall­ing foul of Uefa's Fi­nan­cial Fair Play reg­u­la­tions, which limit the amount a club can spend in ex­cess of their in­come, say­ing: “We are work­ing very trans­par­ently with Uefa.”

As well as his un­de­ni­able as­sets on the field, Ney­mar proved an in­stant hit at PSG’s sta­dium shop which sold out of shirts with Ney­mar’s num­ber 10 on the back, at be­tween € 100 and € 150 each.

“Be­ing the most ex­pen­sive player in the world is not a bur­den,” Ney­mar said. “I weigh 69 kg. I don’t have a bur­den on me.”

Ney­mar de­nied that he had tired of play­ing sec­ond-fid­dle to Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

“It’s not that I wanted to be the big star at Barcelona,” he said

“That’s not what I’m look­ing for here. I’m look­ing for a new chal­lenge, new tro­phies, and this is what mo­ti­vates me.”

PSG fans may not have to wait long to see their new su­per­star in ac­tion.

“I can play to­mor­row (against Amiens). Why not? I’ll speak to the staff, but I re­ally want to play. I haven’t dis­cussed where I will play. I will play where the coach wants me to.”

“I only stopped play­ing in the last two days and I’m hun­gry to play foot­ball.”

On the eve of the new French league cam­paign, PSG have been made firm favourites to re­gain the Ligue 1 ti­tle they lost to Monaco last sea­son, fin­ish­ing eight points be­hind them.

How­ever, there has been crit­i­cism of the sums in­volved.

FIFpro, the world­wide union of pro­fes­sional foot­ballers, said the deal il­lus­trated much of what wrong with the sport.

“Foot­ball is ever more the do­main of a se­lect group of rich, mostly Euro­pean-based clubs,” FIFPro Gen­eral Sec­re­tary Theo van Segge­len said in a state­ment.

“Foot­ball’s enor­mous wealth is trapped within a few leagues and clubs when it could be re­dis­tributed more ef­fi­ciently and fairly to help pro­tect com­pet­i­tive bal­ance.

“The trans­fer rules gov­erned by Fifa are anti-com­pet­i­tive, un­jus­ti­fied and il­le­gal.” – Reuters

TOP PRICE: Ney­mar speaks dur­ing a press con­fer­ence in Paris yes­ter­day after he be­came the most ex­pen­sive player in soc­cer his­tory.

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