Four years and two months. This is how long Neymar Jr has lasted in Barça. The summer of 2013 saw the club close a strategic deal with the Brazilian striker, only 21 at the time but already considered as one to watch out for in the near future. He was quick to demonstrate his abilities, so much so that, today, he left the club as one of the best players in the world. Recognised internationally, it looked as if the club had found a successor to Messi when he decides to hang up his boots. Instead, Neymar has chosen to accept the stratospheric offer made by PSG, despite playing in a lesser league, and grab the limelight there.
On the field, the signing by Barca, chaired by Sandro Rosell, was a success and others, including Real Madrid, had been after him. Off the field though, serious irregularities in the affair quickly became evident. Both Neymar and his father were hauled up in front of the courts, where they were fined €5.5 million, while Rosell and his successor Josep Maria Bartomeu were acquitted but the problems did not go away. An investigation within the club saw that Barça had in practise paid €57.1 million outside the terms of contract. Over time, this will see the club shelling out, including costs and fines, over €100 million.
The Brazilian leaves Barça with 10 titles won with the Catalan club: a Champions League title, two la Liga titles, three King’s Cups, one World Club Cup, a European Super Cup and two Spanish Super Cups.
Barça will be €222 million richer from the amount Neymar must pay to break his contract but the PSG offer is obviously more attractive to the player and his father.