Neymar and Barcelona will meet again… in the law courts
The Brazilian star is taking Barcelona to court for 28.6 million euros while the Catalan club demand from the player the 75 million they feel they are owed.
While some quarters continue wildly speculating about the possibility that Barcelona could resign Neymar, there are a few issues that need to be considered to show how difficult that operation would be to pull off. Judging by Barça's current financial situation, it is absolutely inconceivable. But aside from the economic difficulties, or the uncertainty of whether he would fit into a side that has changed since he left - as well as the question as to whether fans would really be happy to take back a player who left the club in the lurch 10 days before the new season was about to start, there is also a civil court case coming up involved the club and the player. The only thing that can be said with all certainty is that Neymar and Barça are set to meet again… before a judge. The Brazilian star is taking Barcelona to court for 28.6 million euros while the Catalan club will demand the 75 million they feel they are still owed by the player. It's not exactly an ideal setting to sit down and start talking about wiping the slate clean and starting anew.
Neymar feels Barcelona owe him part of a bonus
The story is as follows, on 1 July 2016 Neymar renewed his contract with Barça until June 2021 (the new contract was not officially signed by player and club until 21 October), with his buy-out clause raised from 200 to 222 million euros. The small print in that clause added that from 2018, Neymar's buy-out would automatically rise again - to 250 million, but to everyone's surprise (or maybe not) Neymar left before that could happen.
For renewing his contract, Neymar was to receive a 40 million euro signing-on bonus which would be paid in two installments. The first, for 14 million, would be paid there and then while the second payment, for 26 million, would be tranferred to the player's bank account at a later date.
When Barcelona realized that Neymar could leave to join PSG in August 2017, as a safeguard, the club's board entrusted a cheque for 26 million euros with a third party - a notary public and waited for events with the player to unfold. On 3 August 2017, sports lawyer Juan de Dios Crespo deposited a cheque for 222 million euros, corresponding to Neymar's release clause, at LaLiga's headquarters in Madrid. The following day, Barcelona returned to the notary public and retrieved their cheque for 26 million, stating that they were no longer bound to pay it. Josep Vives, spokesman for the Barça board, justified the decision by saying: “Neymar was fully aware that we would honour the signing-on bonus on three conditions: 1. That the player would not negotiate with another club during the month of July up to and including the 31st; 2. That he would publicly express his decision to complete his contract with Barça, and 3. The payment would be made on 1 September, to ensure he would not leave to join another club. As those conditions have not been met, the club will not liquidate the renewal bonus arrangement” .
Barcelona say Neymar breached his contract
Neymar felt that, in doing this, Barça had broken the law and demanded that the club pay up the 26 million euros he was owed, plus 10 per cent interest - in total, 28.6 million euros. On hearing that, Barcelona brought a lawsuit against the player, reclaiming all of the income paid to Neymar during the months between renewing his contract and leaving for PSG, and added a fine of nine million euros for damages and loses. In total, 75 million euros.
Back in February, FIFA threw out the case - declaring that they would not be willing to investigate or adjudicate the dispute, which both sides understood as a move in their favour and so now it has been left for the civil courts in Barcelona to decide.