Reuters is reporting that Barcelona have paid $18.6 million to Spanish authorities after the club was charged last week with tax fraud in the signing of Brazilian superstar Neymar.
In an official statement on its website Barcelona denied any tax offense and said that “complementary tax declaration” was issued due to a “a possible divergent interpretation of the exact amount of tax responsibility” arising from monies they owed to Neymar’s previous club, Santos, following his transfer last summer. The club also noted it “remain[s] convinced that the original tax payment was in line with [its] fiscal obligations.”
MORE: Barcelona charged with tax fraud over Neymar signing
Whether the payment will result in the Madrid court dropping the tax fraud charges levied on the club last Thursday was unclear.
Barcelona announced in January that Neymar’s transfer cost $118 million, nearly $41 million more than the originally quoted fee. A document filed in Madrid’s National Court also said the Catalan club paid Neymar $13.7 million in 2011 and $38.4 million in 2013 as incentives to leave Santos.
The story emerged last month after a club member filed a complaint against then-club president Sandro Rosell alleging misappropriation of funds. Rosell, who denied any wrongdoing, thereafter resigned claiming he wanted to protect the club’s image and alleging he and his family had been threatened over the ordeal.
The presiding judge has requested Barcelona’s tax records relating to the Neymar deal and asked the tax authority to calculate the damages resulting from the alleged fraud. It remains to be seen whether the $18.6 million paid by Barcelona will cover the scale of damages as determined by the tax authority. At the very least it indicates an admitted oversight on behalf of the club and a desire to end the controversy in an expeditious manner.
After scoring five goals against Newcastle United, Sergio Aguero may have to wait a bit of time to get back to scoring in the Premier League.
The Manchester City striker lasted just 25 minutes in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier on Thursday, as he was stretchered off with a hamstring injury.
Aguero underwent testing in Argentina, and told the local media “I think I’m going to be out for a month.”
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Manchester City and Argentina teammate Nicolas Otamendi said Aguero was in tears in the dressing room, and some reports have penned the injury as a torn hamstring.
If Aguero were to be ruled out for a month, he would miss City’s Champions League clash vs. Sevilla, as well as the massive Manchester derby away at United on October 25.
To make matters worse for City supporters, David Silva was forced off after just ten minutes while playing for Spain today. Silva took a harsh challenge from behind, and hobbled off with what looked to be an ankle injury. If Silva’s injury ends up being more than just a knock, City could be without their two most important players in the attack.
Mario Gotze could be out of action until 2016 after picking up a groin injury on international duty.
The Bayern Munich midfielder suffered a tendon tear in his abductor muscle while stretching for a ball in Germany’s 1-0 loss to Ireland in EURO qualifiers on Thursday. He was taken off in the 35th minute.
Ruled out for 10-12 weeks, Gotze is likely to miss the rest of the first half of the season for Bayern. Their last league match of 2015 is on December 19, which is 11 weeks away. The Bundesliga then goes on winter break, with Bayern’s next match not until January 23.
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Gotze will miss both of Bayern’s upcoming Champions League matches against Arsenal, which is good news for the Gunners as they are in desperate need of a result.
However, Arjen Robben is back in training and will make his return to action within the coming weeks. After starting the Bundesliga seasons with eight wins out of eight, Robben’s return would add just another weapon to Pep Guardiola’s dominant attack.
Robben has not played since being injured in early September while playing for the Netherlands, and could feature for Bayern against Werder Bremen next week.