Barça

How the Neymars betrayed Barcelona to push through PSG move

Joaquim Piera

6-8-2017 | 19:47 H.

Neymar has not shown the maturity away from the pitch that he has shown on it. Not him, nor his father. The 'duo' have never shown their faces during their departure from Can Barça and have earned their place in the most sordid annals of the Catalan club's history.

Neymar Sr. and Neymar Jr. dedicated themselves to lying and feeding into the game which saw them leave Barcelona. They took advantage of their end of season vacation to write and supervise all of the contracts with Paris Saint-Germain, including a sponsorship deal with the Qatar World Cup in 2022 worth 300 million euros. 

Neymar has left Barça having betrayed even those members of the club that have always defended him and stuck by his side since his controversial move to Camp Nou, which all began in 2011. 

In June, director of football Raul Sanllehi was in Sao Paulo to take part in an event for the Neymar Institute. He returned to Barcelona before San Joan without the smallest hint of what was going on. While there, he took advantage of his stay in Brazil to close a loan deal for Vitinho and to try to accelerate moves for Philippe Coutinho and Paulinho. 

One week later, at Leo Messi's wedding in Rosario, Ney, who arrived and left on his private jet with Dani Alves, didn't even say a word to his team-mates about what was about to happen. 

CURY's ALERT 

At the start of July, Andre Cury, a member of Barça's team in South America, alerted the club that there had been some strange movements among Neymar's team. And he had not exactly been informed by either Neymar (father or son) whom he had maintained a good professional relationship with for more than six years. Something smelt off. 

President Josep Maria Bartomeu was informed about what was happening. The club got ready for another busy summer. There was already knowledge of what happened in the summer of 2015 with Manchester United and then again in 2016 with PSG. The chances of a club being able to pay the buyout clause within UEFA's financial fair play regulations (FFP) gave Barça room to take control of the situation. That's what they thought. 

It was Andre Cury and Raul Sanllehi, the directors closest to Neymar and his family, who first got to action. The difference, this time, was that the roles had changed. For the first time, Neymar Jr. took on the role of the bad cop, he wanted to leave, while Neymar Sr. was the good cop, saying he wanted his son to stay. 

When on July 17 SPORT's Albert Masnou first revealed Neymar was "uncomfortable" and wanted to leave, the Brazilian already had two feet in Paris, as much as he repeats the idea he was still thinking what to do. 

Dani Alves, who is always spontaneous, revealed that fact on Saturday. His move to PSG, which was completed on July 12, was an express desire of Neymar's. SPORT can also confirm that he also asked the club and Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) to sign Philippe Coutinho. 

Neymar and his father, though, gave hope to the board, the staff, the coaches and the players at Barcelona that there was a real chance the 25-year-old would stay. With hindsight, that was all just a trick. From Bartomeu to Lionel Messi, everyone tried during the club's tour of the United States to change the situation, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Others, who are not part of the club, such as Nike executive Alvaro Costa, also tried to get Neymar to stay. Sanllehi, Cury (called to the U.S urgently) and Robert Fernandez were in contact with the Neymars day and night. 

The player even cried at a meeting in Miami, when he was reminded of everything the club had done to sign him and to keep hold of him for all these years. 

MEETINGS WITH HIS TEAM-MATES 

Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and, mainly, Gerard Pique were the three players in the dressing room who spoke most with Ney. After a chat with Leo, the Brazilian said that he was staying, which is what the club's press department told the media at the time. The 'yes' from Neymar is what led to Pique publishing his now infamous 'Se queda' tweet. It wasn't right what Pique did, but he did so because he believed his team-mate. 

But days passed and things didn't quieten down. Before the tour ended, Barça had given up on keeping him. Bartomeu's monumental anger -- he had spoken repeatedly with Neymar and his father -- exemplified the feelings of those on the tour. 

On July 31, Neymar was due to receive 26 million euros from the club for last year's contract renewal, a contract that would be broken days later when he paid his 222 million euro buyout clause. The club said enough. 

It was CEO Oscar Grau who deposited the money with a notary. Barça made the decision morally armed by the fact that Neymar father had asked, one year ago, for the bonus to be paid as one fee. And with Barca having decided to go on the the attack, Neymar's father reacted. And how. He went on the rampage, losing his rag when he realised his pockets were being affected. He even called a club executive and proceded to gravely insult them.

Later, he wanted to rewrite the story by telling COPE that it was the non-payment of the bonus that made him decide his son and him should go to PSG. As if the preparation of the contracts, with values above 480 million euros, were written in two days. As they say in Brazil: “Me engana que eu gosto” (You could have fooled me).

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