Barcelona’s board say they are "relaxed" about a court case being taken by a club member to clarify who exactly received the money paid to sign Neymar from Santos last summer.
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The total fee paid for the Brazilian star, and the destination of all the money spent by Barca, remains unclear -- with Barca first claiming the fee was 57 million euros, then 65 million euros -- and blaugrana socio [member] Jordi Cases now maintains that the total outlay was 74 million euros.
It is widely thought that 40 million euros of the fee went to Neymar and his family as a ‘signing bonus’. This has led to investors who ‘owned’ a share of his ‘footballing rights’ complaining that they received less than expected, with legal action in Brazil also expected.
Barca’s board maintain that the case, which will be heard by Spain’s Audiencia Nacional court, was unfortunate due to the negative publicity involved. “This is a rash and unfounded complaint that affects the image of the club, but we are relaxed about it,” sources told AS.
The complicated Neymar deal has been controversial from the start, with club figures regularly claiming that a ‘confidentiality clause’ meant they could not disclose exactly who was paid what.
Cases’ figures [according to AS] are that 74 million euros was paid in total, 40 million euros to N&N [the Neymar family business], with Santos receiving 17.1 million euros [which they must share with other investors in Brazil] as well as 7.9 million euros for first option on three Santos players, plus nine million euros for two friendly games and a further two million euros should Neymar be a finalist in the Ballon d’Or in the next five years.
“We are sure that Rosell has not ended up with this money, but we want to know where it went,” Cases told AS.
In September, Rosell admitted there were issues at the Brazilian end of the deal, but said these were nothing to do with his club.
“The investment fund which is claiming money from [Neymar’s] transfer is talking with Santos and the player’s father,” he said then. “We are staying out of it.”
Cases is a long-time critic of Rosell, a member of the ‘Grup d’Opinio Barca’ and leader of the ‘Plataforma Consulta Qatar’, which attempted to block the club’s shirt sponsorship and other commercial deals with the Middle Eastern Emirate. He was also a mover in ‘GO Barça’, another group of disgruntled socios, who tried and failed to mount a ‘motion of censure’ against Rosell last October.
Neymar and his family could face tax issues should it be confirmed they received the 40 million euros, while Lionel Messi [who has also been investigated by the Spanish taxman] may be unhappy if this ‘bonus’ means he has been overtaken as Barca’s best paid player.