Paris Saint-Germain made Neymar the highest-paid soccer player ever, beating the world transfer record by over $100 million and handing the Brazilian superstar a contract with specifics so absurd they dwarf even the largest in the most lucrative American sports.
Yet, as one might have expected, during his official unveiling at PSG on Friday morning, he tried to explain his move to PSG as one not motivated by those staggering totals.
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“I have never been motivated by money,” Neymar claimed when asked if his move was down to the financials. “If I was following the money, I would be somewhere else, with other clubs in other countries. I’m really sad that people still think that way and I’m glad that PSG believe in me.”
Neymar’s contract details have been leaked by several reports that claim he will make upwards of $1 million per week. In addition, his transfer total was so absurd, both player and club had to get creative to help PSG skirt Financial Fair Play sanctions. According to reports, Neymar himself triggered his own $260 million release clause, voiding the contract and allowing PSG to sign him for a “free transfer.” Then, PSG owners Qatari Sports Investments has paid Neymar a sum of around $340 million to act as an ambassador for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Despite all this, PSG president Nasser Al Khelafi backed up Neymar’s claims. “Neymar came here for motivation, a project that he believed in,” Al Khelafi said at the unveiling. “He can get much more money than we give him, that’s for sure. If he came for money, he could go to other clubs for even more money. He wants trophies, he didn’t come for money, he wants to write the history of this club.”
“Today is expensive but in two or three years?” Al Khelafi asked. “I do not think it is expensive, we will definitely make more money. This is the power of PSG. It is an amazing transfer. We will be very transparent with Financial Fair Play, I have a strong team with me. If you are thinking about it, go have a coffee and don’t worry about it.”
Neymar finished off the topic with a quip, when asked about if the transfer fee and contract will be a burden on the field: “It is not a burden, I am 69kg and do not have a burden on my back.”