Neymar might make one of the most sensational about-faces the soccer world has seen in some time.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar is close to returning to FC Barcelona in a blockbuster transfer, Brazilian television station Globo reported Monday citing sources with knowledge of the situation. Barcelona reportedly will pay PSG €100 million (£89.5 million/$112 million) and add defender Samuel Umtiti, midfielder Ivan Rakitic and forward Ousmane Dembele to the offer in order to re-acquire the PSG and Brazil superstar during the summer transfer window, which will open July 1.
PSG paid Barcelona €222 million (£197.3 million/$257 million) in August 2017 to buy out Neymar’s contract, shattering the previous record for most expensive soccer transfer. He arrived in France with hopes of helping PSG win the UEFA Champions League summit, but the ultra-rich French club spectacularly failed to progress past the Round of 16 in each of the last two seasons.
Controversy also has marked Neymar’s stay in Paris, as he has clashed with teammates, coaches and fans at various points. He also is accused of raping Brazilian model Najila Trindade last month in Paris. Neymar denies the allegation, claiming they had consensual sex. Police in Brazil, where Trindade levied the accusation against Neymar, are investigating the incident.
Neymar’s PSG contract runs until 2022, and the thought of him leaving this summer didn’t seem realistic until Sunday when PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi criticized Neymar in an interview with France Football magazine.
“I want players willing to give everything for the shirt, the club and join for the project,” Al-Khelaifi said, per SPORT. “Those who do not want that, or do not understand, we will see each other and talk.
“Of course, there are contracts to be respected, but the priority now is a total commitment to the project. Nobody forced Neymar to sign for us. Nobody pushed him here. He knowingly signed up for this project.”
Perhaps those words signal the end of Neymar’s Paris sojourn and his reunion Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Co.
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