Football

Neymar's dad wanted son to stay at Barca, until board's 'attitude' changed his mind...

Neymar Sr says club's threat over 26m-euro bonus convinced Brazilian to sign for PSG

Barcelona's pain, Paris St Germain's gain.

PSG celebrated the arrival of Brazilian superstar Neymar in festive style with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Amiens in their Ligue 1 opener yesterday morning (Singapore time).

The Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris reverberated to the sound of Neymar's name chanted over and again before kick-off as the world's most expensive player was presented to fans.

"Paris is magic," said Neymar as he vowed to "win lots of trophies" for his mega-rich employers following his 222-million-euro (S$355m) transfer from Barcelona.

Barcelona would have watched his PSG welcome with disdain, but the Brazilian's father, Neymar Santos, says the Catalan giants have only themselves to blame.

Santos claimed that he was keen for the 25-year-old to stick with Barcelona, but the "attitude of their board" changed his mind.

He revealed that the Spanish club threatened to not pay the 26m-euro loyalty bonus due to Neymar unless he stayed at the Nou Camp.

Under the terms of Neymar's contract signed last summer, he and his representatives were due to be paid the sum on July 31 if he was still at the club.

Neymar's deal was not formally completed until Aug 3, meaning, technically, Barcelona owed him the money.

"I was on Barcelona's side, trying to convince him to stay," Santos told Cadena COPE.

"With the attitude of their board, I changed my mind.

"There's a clause, which is determined by both the player and the club. Do you understand? The player has to fulfil his contract and, if not, he has a clause to pay.

"It's very simple, it's very easy, it's very clear, his contract even more so, thank God.

"26-million-euro bonus? If they weren't going to pay us, I couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't blackmail them.

"At that moment, Barcelona lost my support. Until that moment, they had it. His contract was very explicit and very clear.

"It was a bonus for him signing his contract, so the player's clause has increased.

"If Neymar had to leave, it would be a reason for it to be increased, but that's a topic to discuss in the future, not for now."

Santos also refuted suggestions that his son signed for PSG because he wanted to escape from Lionel Messi's shadow.

"Neymar didn't want to be the leading light (at Barca). Barcelona had one (in Messi) and he'll always be it, not only because of the love and respect that Neymar has for Leo, he's his idol," said Santos.

"Imagine everyone said that he had to be (Messi's) substitute. He doesn't want to be his substitute.

"He could go to any club and be a leading light... Not that he wants to be No. 1. He's taking a risk. Do you really think PSG can guarantee him the Ballon d'Or?

"It's crazy to think that, it's crazy that people believe that. It'd be easier for him to continue at Barcelona with all their help.

"It's a huge misunderstanding. You have to respect my son's position."

Neymar could not play against Amiens yesterday morning because his international transfer certificate (ITC) was still with the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

French league (LFP) director general Didier Quillot said on Saturday that the RFEF has seven days to send over the ITC for Neymar to make his debut at Guingamp this Sunday.

The LFP sent an application for the certificate to the RFEF on Thursday night, after the Brazilian had paid his release clause to Barcelona.

"They have seven days to reply, so if at the end of these seven days, the Spanish federation have not sent this certificate, then well, it will be Fifa who will take the file," Quillot told beIN Sports.

"I hope things will be settled quickly, that we can get this certificate soon, that we can ratify the contract and that Neymar can play against Guingamp at the Roudourou next week." - WIRE SERVICES

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