Neymar tells FC Barcelona he is leaving team

Neymar is set to complete his move to Paris Saint-Germain after Barcelona confirmed the forward had told the club and his team-mates he plans to leave.

Barcelona said in a statement that Neymar, accompanied by his father, who is also his agent, met club officials on Wednesday and informed them of his desire to go. Barça said they had responded by making it clear that the player’s release clause of €222 (£198m) must be paid in full.

PSG are ready to meet those demands, making Neymar the world’s most expensive player. Barcelona remain adamant that they are not prepared to negotiate; formally, Neymar remains not for sale.

The fee would dwarf the €105m Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer. A five-year contract for Neymar has been ready for several days and just needs to be signed. The deal is understood to be worth around €30m a year, almost doubling his salary.

Barcelona had earlier revealed that the Brazil international had informed his team-mates “that he had the intention of leaving the club and seeking his future elsewhere, and the coach has given him permission to leave training”.

His team-mates were disappointed to learn of Neymar’s departure and although the decision was not unexpected there had been hopes that they could convince him to stay. Gerard Piqué had previously said Neymar “does not know what to do” and that his team-mates would try to “help him make the right decision”. The club said Neymar left the training ground 30 minutes after arriving on Wednesday.

At board level Barcelona are irritated not just at the outcome but the manner in which it has been brought about. The political damage is considerable, and the club’s image, already deteriorated, has been hit. The club confirmed that a bonus due to Neymar for renewing his contract last season had been put on hold, rather than paid out, pending the resolution of his transfer. That bonus may explain the silence from Neymar’s camp. Neymar’s father has driven the deal.

After a summer of silence, in which neither Neymar nor the club have spoken publicly, and during which Barcelona completed a lucrative tour of the US with Neymar in a starring role, a statement was issued on Wednesday morning. Barcelona have found support from La Liga, which has indicated it would be reluctant to sign off a move for Neymar to PSG. Legally, however, it is appears it has little way of preventing Neymar from triggering his buyout clause as stipulated in its rules and formally becoming a free agent ready to sign for the French club. Fifa and Uefa rules do not contemplate a scenario in which the Spanish league can prevent a buyout clause being triggered. There has been no suggestion from Barcelona they will complain that he was tapped up.

“Neymar Junior, accompanied by his father and agent, has this morning informed FC Barcelona of his decision to leave the club during a meeting held in the club’s offices,” it read. “Given this position, the club referred them to the buy out clause stipulated in his contract, which since 1 July stands at €222m and must be paid in its entirety.”

The statement added: “In reference to the [player’s camp’s] demand to be paid the renewal bonus [related to last summer’s contract renewal], the club reiterated that the bonus has been deposited with a notary pending the resolution of the case.”

PSG must now complete the deal by paying the buyout clause. The league’s desire not to sanction the payment stems from a keenness to challenge the financial power of PSG, whose role as competitors to Madrid and Barcelona was long feared and now comes share my into focus. In an interview with Mundo Deportivo at the weekend, the league’s president, Javier Tebas, said: “We will [make a complaint about PSG] because they infringe Uefa’s financial fair play rules and also the European Union’s competition rules.

“We will make a complaint to Uefa and if they don’t do anything we will take it to the competition tribunals in Switzerland and Brussels. And, from there, we don’t rule out going through the courts in France and Spain.”

He added: “Two months ago I met the president of PSG at La Liga’s offices and I told him what we were going to do and the reasons why. He was angry with me and said that he did not understand. We have a relationship [through the Qatari sports channel BeIn] for Spanish football but La Liga must defend our clubs in these situations.”

Uefa has said it has not received a complaint but would look into the details of the transfer if it goes ahead. “PSG must respect financial fair play rules as do all other clubs in Europe,” it has said. “They must demonstrate that they do not have losses of more than €30m over three years.” PSG, though, have always been aware of the implications of FFP on this transfer and have been working on ways of complying with that and still landing Neymar. They have been in regular contact with Neymar’s father.

Neymar tells FC Barcelona he is leaving team Neymar tells FC Barcelona he is leaving team Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Wednesday, 2 August 2017 Rating: 5

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