Lots of other people have written their “thinkpiece” on what the Neymar to PSG transfer deal means. Basically, blah blah more wealth blah blah spend lots of money bad blah blah. I actually care little for the so called Chicken Little // Greed in football big picture analysis. I care more about the precise details of this deal. The consummation. The exchange of money. The hard currency.
And they are hysterical.
First, let’s note that Neymar Sr was due a “loyalty bonus” roughly around the same time as he was negotiating Neymar Jr’s exit to PSG. Loyalty, of course, means different things to different people. The clauses in contracts can also be interpreted narrowly or broadly, depending on the attorney reading them or the judge interpreting them.
Neymar Sr. claims he was due to be paid on the last day of July. Barcelona claimed the payment was due on September 1st. Barca also claimed that as part of the loyalty clause, Neymar Jr. had to speak well publicly of the club. Bottom line: Barcelona paid the loyalty bonus to a notary, a third party, and said their lawyers were evaluating whether they had to pay it.
They then refused to pay the bonus and the money has since gone back to the club. Basically, this is a “come and sue us in Catalunya if you want your money” stance.
Second, most transfer clauses are huge sums but paid out in annual installments over the life of the contract. The only time a club pays the fee in a lump sum is when the selling club refuses to hand over the player. And that’s exactly what FC Barcelona insisted on. The club, which as a legal entity is the first club in Spain and Catalunya to have “pled guilty” to a crime, threatened to blow the whistle on PSG for financial fair play (FFP) violations.
PSG has access to petro-dollars most countries, let alone clubs, could only dream of, so they came up with the cash. But then came the fun: PSG’s attorneys showed up to the league offices in Madrid to pay for Neymar. The league intervened and refused to accept the cash due to FFP questions. However, FFP concerns are for UEFA, not local leagues to worry about. The league claimed that they could only do release clause transactions for “Spanish clubs.”
And then came even more fun. This meant that only Neymar, then in London, could pay his own release clause. Thus, we were then treated to Neymar’s agent, via a power of attorney most likely, arriving in dramatic fashion at the FC Barcelona offices to pay the fee. Sadly, the attorney team had really large bags and briefcases, but no giant cardboard check (Publisher’s Clearinghouse Style.)
Check it out. Check out the man in the middle. The bow tie says “Tucker Carlson”, but the fedora screams “Another avocado toast brunch courtesy of Capital One.” The lawyer in front is not wearing a belt and therefore not worthy of further comment.
Thus, my friends, when you think we’ve hit rock bottom and tapped the floor in this pool of decadence, football can still surprise us.