Brazil

Neymar
Getty Images

Neymar loses lawsuit over signing bonus with Barcelona

Leave a comment

BARCELONA, Spain — Neymar loses signing bonus lawsuit after his move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2017, as he must pay back $7.5 million to the Spanish club.

[ MORE: La Liga scores, schedule

A Spanish court has ruled in favor of Barcelona in a dispute with former player Neymar over a signing bonus paid in part to the Brazil striker before he left for Paris Saint-Germain.

The court on Friday rejected Neymar’s suit that Barcelona owed him 43 million euros ($48 million) from part of a signing bonus that it never paid the player.

The court ruled instead that Neymar must pay Barcelona 6.7 million euros ($7.5 million), corresponding to part of the signing bonus it had already paid to the player.

Barcelona and then player Neymar agreed to a new contact in 2016, which included a signing bonus of 64 million euros. The club paid the player 22.5 million euros in July 2016 and was supposed to pay him the remaining 43 million euros by July 2017.

The club, however, withheld the second payment because that summer was rife with media reports indicating that Neymar was negotiating a move to PSG against the wishes of Barcelona. The French club ended up signing Neymar on Aug. 3, 2017 after paying a world-record 222 million euros (then $262 million) to trigger the buyout clause in his contract.

Barcelona had sued Neymar for the return of the full 22.5 million it had paid the player.

The legal dispute comes amid ongoing media speculation that Neymar and Barcelona would like to rejoin forces at some point.

Transfer news: Magno to Liverpool, Chilwell to Chelsea

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The latest transfer news has linked Liverpool with young Brazilian striker Talles Magno and Chelsea are said to be in talks over Leicester left back Ben Chilwell.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Liverpool have made a habit of snapping up talented young players in recent years and the latest could be Talles Magno.

The 17-year-old is a star at Vasco do Gama and plenty of European giants are circling to sign him. Magno was a star throughout the U17 World Cup last summer as Brazil won the title and has become a regular in Brazil’s top-flight over the past season.

Spanish outlet AS say that Sevilla, Lazio, Bayer Leverkusen, Lyon and Benfica are all interested in signing the attacking talent for close to $28 million but the likes of Liverpool, Roma, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Benfica are the frontrunners as they are more likely to pay the hefty fee for Magno. Liverpool have looked to Brazil for top talent in recent seasons with Roberto Firmino, Alisson and Fabinho all arriving and Jurgen Klopp has brought in teenagers Sepp van den Berg, Harvey Elliott and Ki-Jana Hoever as the Reds plan for the future.

Is Magno the next teenager who could be a Liverpool star of the future?

According to the Daily Express, Chelsea have reached out to Leicester about signing Chilwell this summer as they step up their pursuit to find a new left back.

The 23-year-old England international has had a topsy-turvy season with the Foxes and his dip in form in the second half of the season has coincided with Leicester struggling to regain consistency.

Chelsea need a new left back with both Marcos Alonso and Emerson Palmeri more than fine going forward but their defensive positioning has been called into question on numerous occasions this season. Chilwell has gone off the boil while he’s been linked with a move away but there’s no doubting he is a quality left back when he’s fully focused. Defensively he is solid and he has good quality on the ball as he whips in crosses and often offers an outlet in attack from left back.

Chilwell would fit in well with Frank Lampard’s push to have a young team at Chelsea and his inconsistent displays may actually save the Blues some cash when it comes to negotiating a transfer fee.

Brazil’s president wants soccer to return amid pandemic

Getty Images
9 Comments

SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro wants to see soccer competitions start back up again soon despite the country’s high number of coronavirus cases, arguing Thursday that players are less likely to die from COVID-19 because of their physical fitness.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights

Bolsonaro is one of the few world leaders that still downplays the risks brought by the coronavirus, which he has likened to “a little flu.”

Most soccer tournaments in Brazil were suspended on March 15. The Brazilian championship was scheduled to begin in May, but that looks unlikely as the country has become Latin America’s coronavirus epicenter with more than 5,900 deaths. Doctors say the peak of the pandemic is expected to hit within two weeks.

“There is a lot of people in soccer that are favorable to a return because unemployment is knocking on clubs’ doors too,” Bolsonaro said in an interview with Radio Guaiba. “Footballers, if infected with the virus, have a small chance of dying. That’s because of their physical state, because they are athletes.”

Brazil’s president said his new health minister will issue a suggestion that games return without any fans in the stadiums, but he acknowledged many players might be reluctant.

“The decision to restart soccer is not mine, but we can help,” Bolsonaro said, adding he has spoken with Gremio coach Renato Portaluppi about the issue and was told that players are still worried about the virus.

Neighboring Argentina has already canceled the rest of the 2019-2020 season because of the pandemic. France also decided to end the season, declaring Paris Saint-Germain as league champion on Thursday.

Brazil’s soccer confederation said in a statement on Tuesday that competitions should return “whenever it is possible, with safety and health care assurances for all those involved.”

Earlier Thursday, the sports body sent Bolsonaro’s health ministry suggestions of the steps that need to be taken before a restart, but it did not reveal details.

A director at Sao Paulo FC, 1994 World Cup winner Rai, said his club is against resuming play during the pandemic. He also called for Bolsonaro’s resignation because of his “irresponsible” management of the crisis.

“We want to return in the proper time, in accord with recommendations, and gradually,” Rai told GloboEsporte.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Transfer rumor roundup: Everton, Man Utd handed Van de Beek hope

transfer rumor roundup
Photo by Cees van Hoogdalem/Soccrates/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Everton and Manchester United are mentioned as destinations for a pair of possible Premier League debutants, while the pair are also going head-to-head for an Ajax star.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

It’s all in the rumor roundup.


It’s been in fashion to link Carlo Ancelotti’s Everton revolution with players from his home country.

The latest is Torino’s Daniele Baselli, who is also wanted by Napoli and Lazio according to Sportslens.

The 28-year-old center midfielder is averaging 2.7 tackles, 1.6 interceptions, and 1.5 clearances per Serie A match this season.

That’s not to say he doesn’t have attacking acumen, pitching in an average of five goals per season since moving to Turin from Atalanta in 2015.

Baselli has been capped once by Italy.


Diminutive Venezuelan winger Yeferson Soteldo is holding out hope for a move to Manchester United.

The 5-foot-3 international with 17 caps and a goal and turns 23 this summer. He’s scored 10 times with seven assists in his short time with Santos after arriving from Chilean club Universidad.

He said he’d chose United even if Real Madrid or Barcelona came calling. From The Manchester Evening News:

“I always dreamed of playing for Manchester United, the dream remains intact. There are many steps to get there, but I feel I can. I want to go to Europe, but not to go and come back.”

Soteldo has become a mainstay for Venezuela, and posted a goal and an assist against Japan in November.


Both Everton and Man Utd are being linked with a player whose fate seemed sealed just weeks ago.

Ajax star Donny van de Beek has been strongly connected to a wink-wink transfer to Real Madrid this summer, as La Liga’s giants couldn’t risk Financial Fair Play woes by adding him to their 2019 summer haul.

Shoot quotes a Spanish report that the Toffees and Red Devils believe they can land the midfielder.

Van de Beek just turned 23, and has 10 goals and 11 assists in 37 matches this season after registering 17 and 13 in 57 appearances in 2018/19.

American investor DaGrosa eyes Premier League club

Joseph DaGrosa
Photo by Romain Perrocheau/AFP/Getty Images
Leave a comment

American investor Joseph DaGrosa is well-positioned for his next investment in football, and he’s thinking very big.

DaGrosa exited Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux and says he passed on buying Newcastle in recent months, also making a pair of big real estate moves just before the pandemic hit.

Had he purchased Newcastle or stayed with Bordeaux, he’d be amongst the many European club owners weathering a terrible climate while waiting out a pandemic.

Instead, DaGrosa sees an opportunity to build around a massive club in the Premier League or La Liga. He’s made his money in turning around companies, and believes that wisdom can be applied here on a broad scale.

“In this environment, given what’s going on with the coronavirus pandemic, we believe there’s an opportunity to recreate City Football Group at a fraction of the cost,” DaGrosa told ProSoccerTalk this week. “Club valuations are already coming down. In many cases, clubs are going to be effectively taken over by their lenders. There’s going to be some great opportunities in the next 12 months, and great opportunities to get world-class players at a fraction of the cost. This is the time to capitalize it.”

Here’s how it would work for his project, which he’s calling Kapital Football Group, “a new soccer platform holding company, to acquire controlling and influential minority stakes in world-class football clubs and academies at deep valuation discounts.”

DaGrosa aims to buy “an anchor club, most likely in the Premier League,” and then invest in three to five satellite clubs in Europe and South America. He’d also invest in nine academies, three in Asia, three in Africa, and three between North and South America. He didn’t rule out investing in MLS if the valuation proves fruitful, but DaGrosa is also “taking a real hard look” at USL clubs.

“If we can put that together we’ll have a formidable group that can rival City Football Group,” he said.

The CEO and co-founder of GACP Sports, DaGrosa starting eyeballing clubs, including Spanish outfit Getafe a couple of years ago. That didn’t work out during the due diligence stage, which led him to Bordeaux.

He calls running the Ligue 1 club “a fantastic learning experience for the world of European football.”

“Today we have a better appreciation for the importance of legacy of the clubs as well as the importance of the fans contributing to that success,” he said. “And thanks to that experience, we now look for those same qualities in the clubs we are looking to acquire next.”

A rumored 2019 deal to buy Newcastle didn’t work out, but DaGrosa is still laser-focused on making his impact on the global game.

What kind of club is he eyeing? Is it strictly about the best bang for his buck, or does the appeal and history of the club carry significant weight?

“Legacy is a big part out of it,” he said. “I’m even more sensitive today given our experience at Bordeaux. We always understood the legacy and passion of the fans, but all clubs have a special place in the history of the cities and communities in which they are located. In some cases, they are the lifeblood. In the U.S. you think of the Green Bay Packers. I have a much better appreciation for legacy in the history of the clubs we are looking to require, particularly in the Premier League. It’s less important in the U.S. where you don’t have multi-generational ties to one club, but it’s still important.”

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

There’s keen interest in the United States, as DaGrosa stresses what many investors have noted: The 2026 World Cup is going to drive interest in the potential of this country both here and abroad.

We asked DaGrosa why, given that, he wouldn’t dive into Major League Soccer? He’s not ruling it out, but expressed concerns with the franchise fees and revenues in the short-term. Building a club here takes a lot more investment, risk, and patience than, say, a century-old club that holds sway in its region.

“You can build a club (in MLS) that’s going to cost 500 or 600 million bucks,” he said. “At the end of the day, you’re paying 10 times revenues. Or you can buy a club like Bordeaux established in 1881 that has a remarkable history, pedigree, and is a brand known around the world, for 1.6 times revenue. When you look at the metrics it’s hard, not impossible to make a compelling case for MLS over the short-term. If you have a lot of staying power, there’s money to be made but clubs in general are going to trade as a function of their broadcasting rights revenue, and we’re just not seeing that in the U.S. at a rate required to justify the valuation.”

DaGrosa believes in the American soccer market and says the system is on the verge of becoming an elite talent exporter, comparing its potential to that of a current font further south.

“Other markets are going to open up,” he said. “Most of the great clubs in Brazil were insolvent before the effects of the coronavirus. There’s a movement to privatize clubs and we feel there’s going to be an opportunity to get the really top names in Brazil. Those satellite clubs are designed to be good investments in their own right but the name of the game is to secure world class players and Brazil is one of those markets that can immediately supply world class players. The U.S. is a market that can do that in five to seven years.”

DaGrosa’s interest in the Premier League is deep-seated, and has only grown given his expectations for how well the league is equipped to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The PL will emerge as the strongest league and there may be some good deals to be had,” he said. “There are going to be financially distressed owners throughout football globally. There will be some lenders that are going to be scared to death who’d love to create a win-win with someone with capital. If the market is down 20-30 percent, segments of the public market that will be down 30-40 percent, football could be down 50-75 percent. It’s a great time to buy with dry powder so after the acquisitions you can build up a world-class team at a fraction of what it would otherwise cost. In our discussion with investors, we can essentially buy today and invest 25-40 cents on the dollar relative to what we would’ve paid six months ago.”

That’s when he was in “mid-to-late stage discussions” with Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley and his partners about the northeast outfit.

DaGrosa insists that Ashley was “first-class” in negotiations despite many reports about his combustible nature.

“It’s unfortunate in one respect that the deal didn’t go forward,” he said. “With a guy like Mike Ashley you might get punched in the face but you’ll never get knifed in the back. At the time it was disappointing the deal didn’t go forward. It was on our side that a major backer pulled out at the last minute but hindsight is 20-20. Better to be lucky than smart because we probably dodged a short-term bullet.”

Now that twist of fate and timing may launch a wildly ambitious project in the next 12 months.