Ney­mar signs 5-year deal with PSG in record trans­fer

The Washington Times Daily - - SPORTS - BY SA­MUEL PETREQUIN AND JOSEPH WIL­SON

PARIS | Ney­mar has be­come the most ex­pen­sive player in soc­cer his­tory af­ter com­plet­ing his block­buster trans­fer to Paris Saint-Ger­main from Barcelona on Thurs­day for 222 mil­lion eu­ros ($262 mil­lion).

PSG trig­gered the re­lease clause in the for­ward’s Barcelona con­tract, which was more than dou­ble the pre­vi­ous trans­fer record set a year ago when Manch­ester United paid 105 mil­lion eu­ros (then $116 mil­lion) for Paul Pogba.

PSG said in a state­ment that the 25-year-old Ney­mar had signed a fiveyear con­tract, un­til June 2022.

PSG said “his ar­rival into the Paris Saint-Ger­main fam­ily em­pha­sizes more than ever the club’s aims to rise to the top of world foot­ball.”

In his four sea­sons in Spain, Ney­mar scored 105 goals as Barcelona won the Cham­pi­ons League, Club World Cup, two Span­ish league ti­tles and Copa del Rey three times.

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 and won the FIFA Club World Cup three times, PSG is yet to win ei­ther pres­ti­gious com­pe­ti­tion.

“I am ex­tremely happy to join Paris Saint-Ger­main,” Ney­mar 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 team­mates, is to help

the club to con­quer the ti­tles that their fans want.”

PSG’s an­nounce­ment put an end to a saga that started about two weeks ago with ru­mors of his pos­si­ble trans­fer. PSG had al­ready tried to lure him to the City of Light last sum­mer.

Ney­mar’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives cleared the way for the for­mer San­tos player to join PSG by pay­ing the buy­out clause ear­lier Thurs­day. Ney­mar is ex­pected in Paris on Friday and will hold a news con­fer­ence early in the af­ter­noon, PSG said.

It is un­clear whether he will be ready to play for his new team on Saturday when PSG starts its new league cam­paign against pro­moted Amiens at the Parc des Princes. But he will be pre­sented to the fans the same day at PSG’s ground.

“It is with im­mense joy and pride that we wel­come Ney­mar Jr to Paris Saint-Ger­main,” PSG pres­i­dent Nasser Al-Khe­laifi said. “Ney­mar Jr is to­day one of the very best play­ers in world foot­ball. His win­ning men­tal­ity, strength of char­ac­ter and sense of lead­er­ship have made him into a great player. He will bring a very pos­i­tive en­ergy to this club.

“In six years, we have built a very am­bi­tious project that has al­ready taken us to the high­est level of na­tional and Euro­pean foot­ball. 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.”

In a state­ment, Barcelona said that “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.”

The com­ment fol­lowed a claim by Span­ish league pres­i­dent Javier Te­bas on Wed­nes­day that Ney­mar’s move would break Fi­nan­cial Fair Play rules in­tro­duced by UEFA, Euro­pean soc­cer’s rul­ing body.

Barcelona did all it could to stop Ney­mar from leav­ing, and had vowed to com­plain to UEFA if his seem­ingly un­touch­able re­lease clause was trig­gered.

The pay­ment of the clause di­rectly to the club was the sec­ond at­tempt Ney­mar’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives had made on Thurs­day to break his bond with Barcelona. Ear­lier in the day, his lawyer Juan de Dios Cre­spo had tried to de­posit the enor­mous sum at the Span­ish league’s of­fices in Madrid, but he was turned away.

Te­bas had told Span­ish sports daily AS that he wouldn’t let the league act as an in­ter­me­di­ary to an op­er­a­tion that he, like Barcelona, be­lieved vi­o­lated UEFA’s FFP rules. He had called PSG a “state-sup­ported club.” The club’s Qatari own­ers are closely linked to the en­er­gyrich rul­ing fam­ily.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Ney­mar’s trans­fer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Ger­main on Thurs­day for $262 mil­lion is more than dou­ble the pre­vi­ous trans­fer record set a year ago.

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