Barcelona has recently been rocked by scandal, as former president Sandro Rosell resigned on January 24 amidst a lawsuit that accused him of covering up the terms of Neymar's contract and recent transfer from Brazilian club Santos.
Updates from Friday, Jan. 31
Inside Spanish Football provides Neymar Sr.'s side of the story:
“Neymar was only going to leave Santos for Barcelona. It was my job to wrap up and boost the deal. We received 40 million because he left Santos [before his contract expired]. We had better offers. I’m explaining this so my son can be at peace, I don’t want this to cause any confusion.
“I asked Bartomeu to get out the contract to protect the Neymar family’s image. I repeat that I don’t owe anything to the tax authorities in Spain or Brazil, nothing at all. I hope they believe me, because we want peace.
“Neymar could have left for free in 2014 and I would have earned €120 million because there were offers from other clubs for that amount. I hope this is the last time I have to come out and speak about this.
“In June 2013, Brazil had already chosen its hero. I, as a father and businessman, knew that if Brazil lost the Confederations Cup, with the demonstrations that were going on in Brazil, he would become the villain. So I spoke to Luis Alvaro and Odillo to move the negotiations forward.”
A day after Rosell's resignation, new president Josep Maria Bartomeu and the director of football management, Raul Sanllehi, addressed the Neymar contract. Here are the highlights of that press conference, via Barcelona's official Twitter account:
The Guardian provide more details about the deal:
The deal to sign Neymar cost Barcelona €86.2m (£71.4m), including payments to the forward and his family, the club said on Friday after the player's father revoked a confidentiality agreement.
According to Sanllehi, Barcelona made €2.5 million in a friendly with Santos and have an agreement in place with the Neymar Foundation for €2.5 million over 5 years.
The club's official website provided a breakdown of the forward's salary as well:
“We are very proud of the Neymar contract, but it seems like we are being asked to apologise for it. It was a very tough negotiation”, according to Raül Sanllehí, who personally headed the team which hammered out the deal. The Director of the Football Management Area said he very much regretted that the figures surrounding the transfer had been leaked, but again insisted that the global cost of the transfer was 57.1 million Euros, to which a bonus of 2 million Euros will be added if Neymar finishes in the top three of the Ballon D’Or.
As well as explaining again the figures paid to Santos – 17 million Euros – and the 40 million Euro compensation paid to N&N (Neymar da Silva and Nadine, the players parents), the Club also revealed the player’s salary. The total salary cost to the Club is 56.7 million Euros (gross), which is divided into three concepts: 2.7 million Euros as agent commission (5%, rather than the 10 or 15% paid by other clubs) , a 10 million Euro signing on fee and a guaranteed salary of 44 million Euros.
Raphael Minder of The New York Times has more on the lawsuit filed against Rosell:
In a short televised address, Rosell said that his resignation was “irrevocable” and followed what he called a period of unspecified “threats” against him and his family. But he called the accusation related to Neymar’s transfer “unjust and brash,” and he suggested a soccer club was entitled to keep some dealings confidential.
“The signing of Neymar is correct, and his signing has sparked envy and desperation among some of our opponents,” Rosell said. “Some confidentiality is essential in soccer, and were it not so it could cause prejudices to the club.”
Yahoo! Sports' Eurosport Staff provided a statement from Gerardo Martino discussing the situation on Jan. 25:
"It's not the kind of situation we would want to be in," Martino said.
"The players are sad but they know the best way forward is to do things well in footballing terms," added the Argentine, who is in his first season in charge after taking over from the ailing Tito Vilanova.
"The dressing room seems in good shape to me. They are enjoying life at Barca and they need to win like every year and respect the club's playing style in winning trophies."
Neymar has certainly been worth the investment (at least if it was an investment made above board). He's earned a 7.73 average match rating from WhoScored in 16 La Liga appearances, scoring six goals and adding eight assists.
He's also scored three goals and added two assists in six Champions League starts. Suffice to say, there hasn't been much of an adjustment period for Neymar in European football.
There will be an adjustment for his club, however, as the team looks to weather this latest storm and move forward with a new president. While the players continue to perform—Barcelona is atop the La Liga table, though tied with Atletico Madrid in points—the Catalans have seen their share of scandals this year, as Messi and his father were accused of tax fraud in September.
More than likely, Barcelona would like to finish the season without another one of their stars finding themselves in the middle of controversy.
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