(K. Brent Tomer),
POOR FC Barcelona. Four summers ago the club outfought all opposition to sign the golden boy of Brazilian football, a 21-year-old known only as Neymar. Details soon emerged of the financial acrobatics used to sign him up: his transfer fee was not €57m ($76m), as advertised to interested parties and tax collectors, but in fact €86m. In the wake of the scandal, Spanish authorities fined the club €5.5m and have charged Sandro Rosell, the club’s president, with misappropriation of funds (he denies all wrongdoing). The player and his parents have also ended up in court (and also deny wrongdoing).
Nonetheless, Neymar justified the hype. Delighting fans with fancy dribbles and flicks, he teamed up with Lionel Messi and later Luis Suárez to form the best attacking trio football has ever seen. Together, they scored 364 goals in just three seasons, while leading their club to two league titles and one Champions League victory.
But after going through hell to acquire Neymar, on August 3rd the team’s supporters discovered that another club was even more desperate to have him than their own. On that day the Brazilian winger signed a contract worth more than €500,000 a week after tax with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), a Qatari-owned French club. His transfer fee came to a whopping €222m, more than double the previous record. For Barcelona, Neymar’s…Continue reading