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Jan 15, 2014

Neymar rejects accusations over fee

Neymar says there was "nothing illegal" in his transfer to Barcelona from Santos last summer.

Neymar wheels away after scoring his second goal against Villarreal.
Neymar has 11 goals in 20 starts since moving to Barcelona from Santos in the summer.

Ledwith: Defensive excellence

That 57 million euro-plus deal is currently being investigated by a Spanish prosecuting judge, with leaks to the Madrid media claiming that two different versions of the paperwork exist, and a widespread belief that the deal was structured so that a large chunk of the fee went to Neymar's father and agent.

The Catalan club itself has firmly denied any wrongdoing, while maintaining that a 'confidentiality clause' means it cannot disclose to its own socios (members) exactly what was paid to who.

The player himself told Sport (in an echo of a defence used by Lionel Messi when his tax affairs were being investigated last year) that his father looked after his business affairs and he was sure everything had been done correctly.

"I know there has been a lot of talk about my contract," Neymar said. "My father signed the contracts and he is obviously a person I have full confidence in. There is nothing illegal. In any case if there is any doubt you can ask my father, because I just focus on my job -- which is playing football."

The Brazilian, 21, also defended himself against accusations -- from opponents as varied as Celtic manager Neil Lennon, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and Valladolid coach Juan Ignacio Martinez -- of simulation.

"I do not dive," he said. "When you are fouled or get kicked hard then I try to protect myself and not collide. In any case I do not get sad or angry about what people say."

Neymar also told Mundo Deportivo that he was delighted Messi had given him a vote in the Ballon d'Or (behind Andres Iniesta and Xavi Hernandez).

"It is much appreciated, it is an honour and makes me very happy to be voted for by the best player in the world," Neymar said. "This is all a dream come true, and my wish is to keep contributing to making Barca a great."

Being left on the bench for last weekend's 0-0 draw with Atletico had not been a big deal, Neymar claimed, as coach Gerard Martino's decisions must be respected.

"I took the decision calmly," he said. "It is the coach's opinion. He is in charge, and must be obeyed. I must keep working to be available to play. I have been a bit ill, which counted against me, but now I am fine and back. I always want to play, no matter what the game. I want to play in the Copa del Rey against Getafe [on Thursday]."

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