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Neymar in China as transfer rumours grow

By AFP - Jul 31,2017 - Last updated at Jul 31,2017

Barcelona’s Brazilian football ace Neymar (Reuters photo)

SHANGHAI — Neymar greeted fans in Shanghai today as speculation mounted that the Brazil star could be set to quit Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record 222 million euros.

The 25-year-old striker is at the centre of an apparent tug of war between the two European giants in what would be the most expensive transfer fee in football history.

A training spat with new Barcelona signing Nelson Semedo during a pre-season tour in Miami ramped up chatter that Neymar could be about to swap Spain for the French capital.

Neymar, who has remained tight-lipped about the transfer rumours, posted a message for Chinese fans on Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, after arriving for a promotional visit.

“Ni Hao China! I’m Neymar Jr. and I’ve just arrived in China,” he wrote today.

“I’m in Shanghai at the moment. I would like to send a huge hug to all my Chinese fans, thank you very much for your support.”

He posted messages in English and Chinese and asked for suggestions as to what he should do while in Shanghai, where he was scheduled to appear at an event for a fashion brand later today.

Separately, China’s biggest online travel company Ctrip had said it was cancelling an event with Neymar today in Shanghai because he and his advisers were “busy with transfer issues”.

People close to the player subsequently told media there had never been an arrangement with the firm.

Even after the training-ground bust-up in the United States, after which Neymar appeared to storm off, his Barcelona teammates said they wanted him to stay at the Camp Nou.

“Neymar and I, we are very close and I want him to stay and I know the situation,” defender Gerard Pique told ESPN FC.

“Right now he doesn’t know what to do and we are trying to help him—the ones [on the team] that are more close to him — to take the right decision.”

PSG’s pursuit of Neymar has angered some in Spain, where football league chief Javier Tebas says he will file a complaint with Uefa for financial fair play breaches by the French club. — 

Spain’s football league chief Javier Tebas said he will file a complaint with Uefa for financial fair play breaches against Paris Saint-Germain over their pursuit of Brazilian superstar Neymar.

PSG are rumoured to be weighing up a bid for the Barcelona forward at more than 200 million euros, enough to trigger the 25-year-old’s transfer release clause.

“La Liga will file this complaint because it’s a problem for La Liga’s competitiveness. Today it’s happened to Barca, tomorrow it could happen to Real Madrid, it’s happened to Atletico Madrid,” Tebas, the La Liga chairman, told Mundo Deportivo.

Should PSG bid, and then pay, the 222 million euros needed to prise Neymar from the Catalan capital, they would struggle to meet Uefa’s financial fair play conditions that limit a team to losses of no more than 30 million euros over a three-year cycle.

And that is despite a mega-money sponsorship deal with the Qatar tourism board.

According to Tebas, “no-one believes” the commercial revenue figures presented by PSG to justify their spending.

“PSG cannot have figures in which PSG’s commercial rights exceed those of Real Madrid and Barcelona,” said Tebas.

“No-one believes that. We’ve carried out economic studies and it’s impossible.

“It means that the Qatari state is injecting money and that violates Uefa’s financial fair play rules and the European Union’s norms of economic competition, and we’re going to file a complaint.”

In 2014, PSG were fined 60 million euros and handed transfer spending restrictions by Uefa for breaching financial fair play rules.

Uefa’s Club Financial Control Body has also stated that PSG’s 200 million euros a year image rights contract with the Qatari tourist board is inflated and double its “true value”.

 

PSG are owned by Oryx Qatar Sports Investments.

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