By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Huge news for Brazil, Paris Saint Germain (PSG), and football (soccer) fans around the world with media outlets reporting that Brazilian superstar, Neymar, has verbally agreed to a six-year deal with PSG at €30 million (US$35 million) per year after taxes.
It is a figure that would match that of Neymar’s Barcelona teammate, Argentinian Lionel Messi. The deal reportedly is only waiting for PSG’s payment of Neymar’s €222 million (US$259 million) release clause with Barcelona.
Initial reports suggest that Neymar‘s father, Neymar Sr., met last week with Paris Saint Germain’s sporting director, Artero Henrique, and board member, Sophie Jordan, to finalize the terms of the deal, which also includes a €40 million (US$47 million) signing bonus.
Last summer, Neymar Sr. had begun contacting several top European clubs, including Manchester United, City and PSG, offering the services of his superstar son. But, only PSG was capable of wrangling UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules and pay the €222 million release clause.
To avoid conflicting with the FFP rules, which set team spending limits, PSG is allegedly prepared to pay for the release through a sponsorship contract with Neymar via Oryx Qatar Sports Investments, an investment fund which also happens to be PSG’s governing body. Thus, the buyout would supposedly not count against PSG with respect to the FFP rules.
Speculation of Neymar’s possible move comes on the heels of his sparkling performance in New Jersey last Saturday, July 22nd, as Barcelona faced off against Juventus in a pre-season friendly.
In front of 80,000-plus fans at MetLife Stadium, Neymar scored both of the club’s two goals in an impressive 2-1 victory.
Speaking to the media after the game, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde was not shy expressing his feelings about Neymar’s future with the club.
“Barca are not going to go on without Neymar,” exclaimed Valverde. “We want him with us, we know the importance he has in our play.”
Further contradictory reports came out of social media late Sunday (July 23rd) night, most notably from Barcelona defender Gerard Piqué, who tweeted a photo of himself and Neymar along with the cryptic message, “Se queda,” or in English, “He stays.”