Neymar has finally completed his world-record £198 million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in a deal the French side say “emphasises more than ever the club’s aims to rise to the top of world football”.
After weeks of intense speculation regarding the move, the 25-year-old has signed a five-year contract worth £500,000 a week and is in line to make his debut on Saturday at home to Amiens in Ligue 1.
He will wear the No 10 shirt, as revealed by Dugout.
Neymar, who will be officially unveiled at 1.30pm French time, today, at a press conference, said: “Since I arrived in Europe, the club has always been one of the most competitive and most ambitious.
“Paris Saint-Germain’s ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings.
“I played four seasons in Europe and I feel ready to take the challenge. 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.”
The Spanish La Liga had earlier accused PSG of “financial doping” over the record-breaking transfer, after the latter had their £198 million offer accepted by Barcelona, on Thursday.
Barcelona announced the news in short statement on their website on Thursday afternoon.
“On Thursday afternoon, Neymar Jr’s legal representatives visited in person the Club’s offices and made the payment of 222 million euros in the player’s name with regards to the unilateral termination of the contract that united both parties,” the statement read.
“As such, 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 statement added.
Earlier on Thursday, Neymar had attempted to pay the €222 million (£198 million) fee to release him from his contract with Barcelona – but La Liga sensationally rejected the payment.
A La Liga statement had read: “We can confirm that the lawyers of the player have come to La Liga to deposit the clause and that it has been rejected. It is all the information we will give so far.”
A sports lawyer working for the player, Juan de Dios Crespo, deposited a cheque with the Spanish League, on Thursday morning, but the payment was not been accepted off the back of threats made, on Wednesday, by La Liga president, Javier Tebas, that they would reject the money.
Tebas had said: “In terms of PSG, it is a clear case of financial doping, with the club and the state. PSG’s accounts show that they have a larger commercial income than Real Madrid and Manchester United, which is to say that the value of their brand is greater than those clubs. Well, that is impossible.”
He added: “We will not accept that money from a club like PSG that, without belonging to La Liga, want to embrace the rights of our organisation.”
In response, the LFP hit back at La Liga, asking the Spanish body to “abide by the FIFA rules” and allow the Brazilian to join the Parisian club.
The LFP said in its own statement: “The LFP is surprised and does not understand the refusal of La Liga to simply accept the payment of the release clause of the player Neymar.
“The LFP asks the Liga to abide by the FIFA rules and its responsibilities. The LFP supports Paris Saint-Germain and wishes Neymar to join the Ligue 1 championship.
“The legal services of the LFP are in support and at the disposal of Paris Saint-Germain so that the Neymar contract is approved as soon as possible.”
Neymar – who has delayed his arrival in Paris until Friday – is now in a race against time to register with the French league so he can make his debut on Saturday against Amiens. He needs to register a provisional transfer by Friday to make it in time to kick-off PSG’s first match of the season.
Neymar flew to Porto on Wednesday, where he had a medical in the presence of PSG’s Portuguese sporting director Antero Henrique.
PSG had fought against paying the money as a buyout clause to the league because it means releasing all the funds immediately and incurring additional tax.
But, Barcelona were not prepared to allow the French club to treat the transfer as an orthodox deal. They are also likely to put pressure on UEFA to fully investigate how PSG have funded the payment of the clause – which they once thought beyond the reach of every club in the world.
Meanwhile, Barcelona confirmed they have not paid Neymar’s father commission for a five-year contract renewal signed in October last year, despite a payment of €25 million (£22 million) being due on July 31.
The club have deposited the money with a lawyer in the city and will take legal advice after Neymar’s transfer has been concluded to see if they can pay only a percentage of the fee – in keeping with the proportion of the deal which Neymar served.
Neymar Snr is due to earn around £36 million from the transfer.