Barcelona and their former forward, Brazil and PSG star Neymar, have reached what the club has described as an “amicable” out-of-court settlement, the financially-struggling Catalans confirmed on Monday.
The 29-year-old, who is widely believed to be one of the world’s best players alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, stunned football in 2017 when he left the Camp Nou.
Qatari-backed PSG triggered his $264 million release clause, but a string of court cases ensued between the player and his former employer, with Neymar and his father said to have been demanding an unpaid 2016 “loyalty” renewal bonus as the Liga giants attempted to counter-sue them for breach of contract.
Barcelona reportedly demanded the return of $16.5 million they had already paid to the Santos academy product, as well as a further $10 million in damages with interest.
OFFICIAL: Barcelona has *closed* their legal disputes that were opened against Neymar. Club and player have both signed a settlement agreement to end legal proceedings that were pending between both parties. #FCB ?⚖️
— Reshad Rahman (@ReshadRahman_) July 26, 2021
A judge sided with the Blaugrana in that instance, with ESPN gaining full access to the ruling in July 2020 that stated Neymar had indeed breached his contract, which was terminated prematurely without just cause to sign for another club once PSG paid his release clause.
He was ordered to give Barcelona $8 million back, with an appeal also thrown out – but now the cases between the two parties have been put to bed.
“Barcelona have ended out of court, in amicable fashion, the various labor and civil litigation cases that were open with the Brazilian player Neymar,” they said in a statement on the matter.
“As such, a transactional agreement between the club and the player has been signed to end the legal cases that were pending between the two parties.”
Neymar’s time on the pitch in Spain was a roaring success, seeing him form the formidable MSN attacking trident with Messi and Luis Saurez while also winning a series of domestic trophies and the Champions League.
His tenure was blighted by off-the-field problems, beginning with his purchase from Santos in 2013.
When a judge agreed to hear a court case that alleged the real cost of the transfer had been hidden through false contracts, then-president Sandro Rosell was forced to resign.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN:In 2019, after rumours surfaced that Neymar wanted to return to Barcelona, Neymar was booed ALL GAME by his own PSG supporters against Strasbourg.Neymar scored a last minute weak foot bicycle kick winner. The fans celebrated ?pic.twitter.com/SMkNB3vluH
— ?????????? (@Neymoleque) February 5, 2021
Barca had originally claimed Neymar cost them $67.3 million but the figure was later revealed to be something closer to $94.5 million, with a large percentage going to a company owned by Neymar senior.
When the club was charged with tax fraud, they also paid a voluntary €13.6m ($16 million), although they denied any wrongdoing.
Despite these scandals and legal battles, Barca have attempted to buy Neymar back on numerous occasions, with the closest they came in 2019.
As confirmed by their former vice president Javier Bordas to Sport, Barc offered €110 million ($130 million) plus a trio of players in Jean-Clair Todibo, Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele.
“PSG wanted €130 million ($153.5 million) plus Todibo, Rakitic and Dembele, so Neymar was €20 million ($23.6 million) away from coming back. In the end it couldn’t be done,” said Bordas.
With financial mismanagement and the pandemic thrusting Barca into more than a billion dollars of debt, they have never been further from being able to afford Neymar’s services, and any hope of landing him on a free next summer was scuppered when he recently renewed terms at the Parc des Princes until 2025.
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