Neymar Denies Illegal Barcelona Agreement in Transfer from Santos

Nick AkermanFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2014

MADRID, SPAIN - JANUARY 11: Neymar JR. of FC Barcelona controls the ball during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and FC Barcelona at Vicente Calderon Stadium on January 11, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)
Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Barcelona have labelled the Spanish court's investigation into the transfer of Neymar "baseless and unnecessary," reports Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC, and now Neymar has had his say on the matter.

Update from Wednesday, Jan. 15

Neymar added his own defence over accusations of wrongdoing on Wednesday, insisting he has full faith that his father conducted an honourable deal with Barcelona. Corrigan provides the latest quotes:

I know there has been a lot of talk about my contract. My father signed the contracts and he is obviously a person I have full confidence in. There is nothing illegal. In any case if there is any doubt you can ask my father, because I just focus on my job -- which is playing football.

---End of Update---

The Catalan club are ready to argue claims that FCB president Sandro Rosell has not revealed the full details of Neymar's move from Santos—which took place during the summer—to other board members.

Jordi Cases, one of Rosell's biggest rivals on the board, is the man who has taken the case to Audiencia Nacional judge Pablo Ruz.

La Blaugrana have released a damning statement in response to the investigation, in which the club "wishes to express its indignation at the report," per Corrigan's article:

It seems strange indeed that the prosecutor’s office, having asked for the players’ contracts and the annual accounts of the Club, it should now decide to instigate further action without showing any interest in the defendants.

It is also hard to understand why the prosecutor has called on entities such as FIFA or Santos FC to present documents, which FC Barcelona is willing and able to provide, as they did on Dec. 26 last year.

Details of the report are yet to be made public, but as Corrigan points out, Deportes El Pais—a Madrid-based publication—believes a "simulated contract" may have been created.

Neymar, who has been an instant hit at the Camp Nou, is thought to have cost Barcelona around €57 million, reported by BBC Sport. Cases argues that this fee is incorrect, and in reality, the Spanish club will pay up to €74 million when add-ons are applied, per Corrigan's article.

Third-party investigators are also said to be investigating claims that Neymar and his family received €40 million of the fee as a "signing bonus," an occurrence that would further complicate the details of a transfer that saw Barca pip Real Madrid to one of world football's brightest young talents.

Barcelona have since explained the payment in a statement on the club website:

Secondly, the affidavit explains that the payment of 40 million Euros to N&N Consultoria Esportiva and Empresarial Ltd as part of the payment for the player is included in the 57,1 million Euro total, which the Club has indicated from the first moment.

Alex Duff and Tariq Panja of Bloomberg.com have more on the payment and what it means:

The case is an indication of how soccer’s top players channel earnings through a “labyrinth” of companies, according to Jose Maria Gay, a Barcelona University professor who writes an annual report about Spanish soccer finance.

“They have become a type of financial instrument,” Gay said by telephone. “You invest in them like you invest in the oil industry.”

BARCELONA, SPAIN - DECEMBER 17:  Neymar of FC Barcelona scores his team's third goal during the Copa del Rey round of 32 second leg match between FC Barcelona and Cartagena at Camp Nou on December 17, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty
David Ramos/Getty Images

Neymar has scored nine goals and provided 10 assists in 22 appearances across La Liga and the Champions League this season, per WhoScored.com, helping Barcelona to deal with the long-term injury of Lionel Messi.

As tweeted by WhoScored.com at the end of last year, the Brazilian is more than capable of netting a glut of goals in little time:

Most impressively, Neymar has shown great maturity when adapting to life in Spain.

Barcelona are a club with fierce traditions and almost patented style of play that new signings are expected to help maintain. While many believed the 21-year-old Brazilian would struggle upon his European arrival, his opening few months have been laced with quality and the willingness to work hard.

Although Cases' claims are yet to be proven, it would be extremely disappointing to see Neymar's name get caught up in a transfer debacle that could overshadow his development at the elite club.