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Neymar set to seal world record move to PSG worth £450m

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Neymar is set to complete a world-record move to Paris Saint-Germain worth around £450m in fees and wages after telling Barcelona he is leaving.

PSG have given the go‑ahead for the forward’s buyout fee of €222m (£198m) to be handed over at the Spanish football federation offices, the protocol required to clear the transfer. Neymar, who flew to Porto on Wednesday for his medical, is expected to be presented in Paris this week.

On a dramatic day Neymar, accompanied by his father, who advises him, informed Barcelona at their training ground in the morning of his desire to go. The club responded by saying the release clause would have to be paid in full.

PSG had anticipated that and always intended to meet it. A five-year contract for Neymar has been waiting to be signed for several days. The wages are understood to be around €30m a year after tax – equivalent to around £520,000 a week – almost doubling the player’s salary. Neymar Sr and others including the agent Pini Zahavi are due to share a €38m payment for facilitating the move.

During a training ground visit of around 30 minutes Neymar also told his team-mates he was leaving. They were disappointed to learn of his decision and although it was not unexpected there had been hopes they could convince him to stay. Lionel Messi posted an Instagram video and message to Neymar a few hours later, writing: “It was a great pleasure to have shared all these years with you, friend @neymarjr. I wish you good luck in this new stage of your life.”

Neymar had been due to return to training on Wednesday, but was given permission by the coach, Ernesto Valverde, not to take part. He headed for Porto, where PSG’s doctor was with Maxwell, the club’s sporting coordinator.

Barcelona’s number one target to replace Neymar is Philippe Coutinho, but Liverpool are adamant he is not for sale.

Next on Barcelona’s list is likely to be Borussia Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembélé. Kylian Mbappé of Monaco and the Atlético Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann are also coveted, but those deals would be harder to secure.

Barcelona’s official position was that Neymar was not for sale, but with PSG willing to meet a clause the club had considered unpayable when inserting it in his contract extension last year, the matter was out of their hands. The fee dwarfs the record €105m Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer.

At board level Barcelona are irritated not only at the outcome, but by the manner it has been brought about. The political damage is considerable and the club’s image, already deteriorated, has been hit. Barcelona confirmed that a bonus due to Neymar for renewing his contract last season had been put on hold, rather than paid out, pending the resolution of his transfer. That €26m bonus may explain the silence from Neymar’s camp. Neymar’s father has driven the deal. (The Guardian)

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