Neymar completes transfer to PSG in world-record €222m deal

Joe Williams

Neymar has become the most expensive footballer of all time after joining Paris St Germain for 222 million euros.

The 25-year-old Brazil forward, whose legal representatives on Thursday paid Barcelona the world-record fee to terminate the contract which tied him to the Catalan giants, has signed a five-year deal with the Ligue 1 club.

PSG announced Neymar’s arrival on their website just hours after Barcelona acknowledged the receipt of 222 million euros (£200.6million), preceding the move’s confirmation with a video posted on Twitter that teased: “He’s coming.”

Sao Paulo-born Neymar told “I am extremely happy to join Paris St Germain. 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 team-mates, is to help the club to conquer the titles that their fans want.

“PSG’s ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings. I have 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.”

Barcelona have passed the details of the deal to UEFA. The fee obliterates the previous record of 105m euros – worth £89m at the time – that Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer.

The Catalan club are keen for the governing body to “determine the disciplinary responsibilities that may arise from this case” with issues of Financial Fair Play and adherence to European transfer rules in mind.

Earlier in the day Neymar’s lawyers were sent to LaLiga headquarters in Madrid to pay the huge fee, only to be snubbed.

France’s own league body the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) was quick to tell its Spanish counterpart to “abide by the rules”, yet Neymar’s team instead went to Barcelona directly to conclude the operation.

Neymar had indicated his desire to depart Barcelona, for whom he scored more than 100 goals, on Wednesday.

At the Nou Camp he formed the fabled ‘MSN’ strike partnership along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez that delivered a treble of league, cup and Champions League in the 2014-15 season.

Neymar was the driving force behind Barcelona’s remarkable comeback against PSG in the European quarter-finals last season. He scored twice and set up the winner as the Catalans won 6-1 to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit.

French newspaper Le Parisien have claimed he will earn 30m euros (£27m) net per year, or close to 600,000 euros (£540,000) each week after tax at PSG, who are determined to win the Champions League.

The Parisians’ president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari businessman who led the acquisition of the Ligue 1 outfit in 2011, was delighted to get his man.

“It is with immense joy and pride that we welcome Neymar to PSG,” he said.

“Neymar 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, I am convinced that we will come even closer, with the support of our faithful fans, to realising our greatest dreams.”

Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho said on Wednesday he did not think Neymar was an expensive purchase.

The Portuguese said: “For £200m I don’t think he is expensive.

“I think he is expensive in the fact that now you are going to have more players at £100m, you are going to have more players at £80m and more players at £60m. I think that’s the problem.

“Neymar is one of the best players in the world, commercially he is very strong and for sure Paris St Germain thought about it. So I think the problem is not Neymar, I think the problem is the consequences of Neymar.”

There was some humour to be found amid the debate around the incredible figure paid for the 25-year-old.

National League North side North Ferriby tweeted a spoof announcement of Neymar in one of their shirts, claiming they had pipped PSG to the post.

They captioned it with: “We are delighted to announce that we’ve pipped PSG to the post. In other news, season passes are £2,845,212.”

Away from football, the world of sport is seemingly stunned at the money involved.

American show SportsCenter tweeted a graphic of 10 of the NBA’s leading players – including LeBron James and Steph Curry – saying “this 10-man NBA roster costs 100m US dollars less than Neymar”.