Neymar-Barca deal reached in 2011?
SAO PAULO (AP)
Neymar's father said Tuesday that Barcelona paid his company 10 million euros ($13.3 million) in 2011 to guarantee the right to sign the talented Brazilian player.
The revelation provided the latest insight into the high-profile transfer that led to the resignation of Barcelona President Sandro Rosell last week amid allegations he hid the real cost of the deal in false contracts.
Neymar's father, who also is known as Neymar, is the player's agent.
''We don't owe anything in Brazil or in Spain,'' he said during a news conference. ''We are doing this because we want to give some peace to my son, so he can play the World Cup without this bothering him.''
Neymar's father said another 30 million ($41 million) was paid by Barcelona to his company after the deal was finalized last year. Barcelona said it spent a total of 57 million euros ($78 million) on Neymar, with 17 million ($23.2 million) going to Neymar's former club, Santos.
The salary for the 21-year-old Neymar is 56.7 million euros ($77.5 million) over five years, Barcelona said last week when it offered details on the contract after a Spanish judge agreed to hear a lawsuit brought by a club member alleging irregularities.
Neymar's father said that although Barcelona paid 10 million euros in advance in 2011, the Spanish club was not breaking FIFA rules that prevent teams from luring players under contract with other clubs. He said Santos knew about the deal and the money was paid to his company, not directly to Neymar.
The deal, however, came before Barcelona and Santos faced each other in the final of FIFA's Club World Cup in December 2011. Neymar was not a factor in the match and Barcelona won 4-0.
Neymar's father said that if the player changed his mind and decided to go to another club, or if something happened to keep him from signing with Barcelona, he would have had to return the money to the Spanish club.
''We had a lot of great offers at the time,'' Neymar's father said. ''We needed some guarantees.''
Neymar's father said he pushed for Neymar to close the deal with Barcelona before last year's Confederations Cup because he was afraid his son could be touted as a ''villain'' had Brazil not won the tournament.
''As a father, I knew that if Brazil had failed Neymar would be blamed by everyone,'' he said. ''That's why I requested for the transfer at that time.''