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 and agent, met club officials on Wednesday and informed them of his desire to leave. 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. 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 his departure and although the decision was not unexpected there had been hopes that they could convince him to stay. At board level, Barcelona are irritated not just at the outcome but the manner in which it has been brought about.
The club said Neymar left the training ground 30 minutes after arriving on Wednesday.
La Liga has indicated it would be reluctant to sign off a move for Neymar to PSG. Legally, however, it is appears that 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. It is understood Fifa’s regulations mean La Liga does not have the authority to block the transfer. There has been no suggestion from Barcelona they will complain that he was tapped up.
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.”