The vice-president of Brazilian football’s Federacion Paulista has labelled Neymar’s transfer to Barcelona last summer "one of the biggest frauds in the history of world football," amid reports that Blaugrana president Sandro Rosell is considering stepping down to deal with the legal investigation into the deal.
Barca continue to maintain they paid ‘just’ 57 million euros for the player, while others suggest the full deal was for as much as 95 million euros and the player and his family have received 51 million euros in various fees and commissions.
The issue became increasingly serious this week after it was confirmed that a Madrid court had launched a formal investigation amid claims that different versions of the contracts involved exist.
The player’s former club have reportedly so far only directly received 9.4 million euros [its share of the 17.1 million euro ‘transfer fee’ part of the deal, although other payments of 16.9 million euros were reportedly included as side-deals for options on other players and friendly games] for a player apparently worth almost 10 times that much, leading Orlando Rollo to claim that the club’s president had been duped.
“The president Odilio Rodrigues and his management team negotiated disastrously,” Rollo, an advisor to Santos’ board, said in AS. “The dark case of Neymar’s sale is one of the biggest frauds in the history of world football.”
The repercussions continue close to the Camp Nou, also, with respected Catalan paper La Vanguardia claiming on Friday morning that Rosell was considering stepping down as Barca president due to the controversy.
Rosell has always maintained neither he nor the club did anything wrong, and there is no suggestion that any Blaugrana executive personally benefitted from the complex deal, however he is reportedly deciding if he should step aside to protect the club from what could be a long legal drama, with club executives potentially called to testify in a Madrid court.
Barca’s vice-president Toni Freixa told the same La Vanguardia report that the club, which has always claimed it could not reveal details of the deal due to a confidentiality clause, should have been more up-front about who was being paid what from the start.
“Our great error was to present a footballer who cost 57 million euros without saying clearly where the 57 million euros was going,” Freixa said. “It is strange not to be able to say where the money was going. The rest [of the money paid] was ways of paying the player, in which not the slightest crime exists. Many clubs use these formulas, for example with payments to the player’s companies.”
Joan Laporta, Rosell’s former ally, arch-enemy and possible future candidate to regain the club presidency he held from 2003 to 2010, entered the debate by tweeting: “The president must give explanations to Barcelona’s socios. He owes it to them.”
El president Sandro Rosell ha de donar explicacions als SOCIS del FCBarcelona. Es deu a ells. El seu silenci perjudica la imatge del Club.— Joan Laporta Estruch (@JoanLaportaDcat) January 22, 2014
The latest leak in the case has seen Spanish radio station Cadena Ser obtain a copy of Neymar’s Barca contract, which according to journalist Manu Carreno shows that he will earn 17,680,000 euros this year, with a base salary of 9.18 million euros and a signing on bonus of 8.5 million. It also reportedly guarantees the player 54.4 million euros over five years of his contract, or almost 11 million euros a year. This does not include the 40 million euros paid to Neymar & Neymar [an agency run by the player’s father], which was allegedly part of the 57 million Barca paid last summer.
It is also claimed that Neymar’s contract includes the following bonuses: Qualification for the Champions League (637,500 euros); advancing from the Champions League group stage (425,000 euros); winning the Champions League (850,000); winning La Liga (637,500 euros); Liga and Copa del Rey double (850,000 euros); Champions League & Copa double [1,062,500 euros]; Champions League, Liga and Copa treble (1.7 million euros); Ballon D’Or win (425,000 euros).