Neymar was set to transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in what would have been the richest player transaction in sports history. Would have been. Juan de Dios Crespo, a sports lawyer, arrived at the La Liga offices on Thursday with a check, in full, for the €222 million ($263.3 million U.S.) and was turned away. Via ESPN FC:
“We can confirm that the legal representatives of the player [Neymar] came to La Liga to deposit the clause and that it has been rejected. This is all the information we can give at the moment.”
Someone refused to accept a check for more than a quarter-of-a-billion dollars. No details on why, but it’s probably because La Liga president Javier Tebas thinks PSG is doping financially. That’s right, there are accusations of monetary impropriety in soccer. Shocking. Via ESPN FC:
“Basically, the complaint will be over unfair competition and against teams that receive financial injections from owners that ‘gift’ players to their fans by taking them away from others. PSG are a clear example of ‘financial doping’ by club/state.
“PSG’s accounts reflect that they have more commercial income than Real Madrid or Manchester United, which is to say that their brand value is bigger than these two clubs. Well, that is impossible.”
This is an impressive principled stand by Tebas. Especially since he may not have any legal grounds to reject the payment. It’s also a pretty incredible testament to the star power of Neymar. You would think that no player is bigger than the biggest sports league in the world, but he’s valuable enough to turn down basically all of the money.
So is Neymar worth it? Would you turn down a quarter-of-a-billion dollars just because the money wasn’t all from ticket, snack and merchandise sales?