Paris Saint-Germain has officially signed Neymar to a 5-year playing contract, ending a saga that had consumed the summer transfer market.
The club will present the 25-year-old superstar at the Parc des Princes on Friday at 1:30 p.m. local time.
FC Barcelona had released the Brazilian earlier this afternoon, announcing it accepted a $263 million (€222 million) buy-out payment in full in an online statement. This came just hours after La Liga offices said it originally rejected that payment, ESPN FC reported. No reason was immediately known, though speculation was Barca requested UEFA to investigate how PSG could finance the transfer under fair pay rules.
Neymar informed his former club of his desire to go to the French capital just yesterday, the Catalonian club confirmed then on its website. In that same statement the club also reminded him it expects to be paid his buy-out clause in its entirety. The player was relieved from practice until the matter was resolved.
The fee PSG paid is a new transfer record, more than double the previous $120 million Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba one year ago, and 3.5 times what Barcelona paid to acquire Neymar from Brazilian team Santos just four years ago.
In addition, PSG confirmed it signed Neymar to a 5-year contract through June 2022 (five months before the World Cup in club owner's country of Qatar) and is estimated to pay him $350 million in salary and bonus before-tax . All told the Parisian club is on the hook for a cash outlay in excess of $600 million for the winger’s services.
It is easy to see why Barca, which posted a record $770 million in revenue last year and is worth $3.64 billion as the second most valuable soccer club in the world, questioned how PSG could complete this transfer in compliance with UEFA Financial Fair Play rules. The Ligue 1 runner-up only generated $92 million in operating income and is worth $841 million. FFP limits club losses and contributions owners can spend to sign players.
But as my colleague Mike Ozanian reports, PSG owners Qatar Sports Investments’ influential oil money may have something to do with it. After the Qataris purchased the club they pumped an additional $340 million into it to recruit high-profile players, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Success followed. Since then, it has claimed the Ligue 1 title four times and was runner-up once. Financial disparity followed too. Per Sporting Intelligence’s annual Global Sports Salaries Survey 2016, PSG now leads the league in salary cost, paying an average $5.5 million per player, 21.5 times the average pay at Nancy, the club with the smallest average team salary. It’s the widest discrepancy in any major sport league in the World.