Neymar switches sides in record-breaking transfer deal

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Neymar switches sides in record-breaking transfer deal

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Neymar, the star forward and talisman of the Brazilian National Team, completed a shocking transfer from the club FC Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain this summer for 222 million euros, the largest fee of all time. The transfer, which occurred after months of speculation, smashed the previous record of 106 million euros that was set last year by the transfer of midfielder Paul Pogba to Manchester United.

Neymar leaves an FC Barcelona team that has succeeded immensely over the three years in which the mercurial forwards, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar himself played for Barcelona. In their first season together, 2014-15, the team won all competitions they competed in and were talked about as among the best teams of all time. Though they have struggled somewhat recently, finishing second in their domestic league, they still advanced to the quarter-finals of the famous UEFA Champions League after completing one of the greatest comebacks in history against Paris Saint Germain (PSG), the very team Neymar left to join.

Neymar now joins a team that finished second in Ligue 1, the French national league, and will be expected to compete for titles both domestically and internationally. PSG is newly rich after being bought by Nasser Al-Khelaifi, a Qatari businessman, and they have spent a total of over 600 million euros in the transfer market over the past year.

Reaction to the transfer has been mixed, with many Barcelona fans upset with Neymar. Barcelona is the second most supported club in the United States after their arch-rival Real Madrid, so many American and European fans have an opinion.

“Being an FC Barcelona fan, I was pretty upset when I heard Neymar was leaving, he was supposed to be the future of the club and now he just left for the money,” Amcy Odicho, senior and member of the soccer team, said.

In soccer, acquiring players does not work like American sports. Instead of trading players in exchange for one another, soccer clubs pay money directly to the club from whom they buy the player. This allows financially successful clubs to buy players and assemble an all-star like team. There have been complaints about parity in European leagues, and financial regulations have been but into place by UEFA, Europe’s governing body of soccer, to stop clubs from dominating the sport.

However there are many ways to work around the regulations, as evidenced by Neymar’s quarter billion dollar transfer to PSG. Other clubs, including FC Barcelona, have started to complain about the regulations, with club president Josep Maria Bartomeu saying, “Qatar and Abu Dhabi, two countries that have two clubs. If Bayern [Munich], [Manchester] United, [Real] Madrid or Arsenal buy a player, you know [the money] comes from football. But these two clubs distort the market.” This is in reference to the supposed support that PSG receives from the Qatari government, as Al-Khelaifi has close ties with figures including the Prime Minister of Qatar. Bartomeu has alleged that the Qatari government put up the funds necessary for the transfer, which is a violation of UEFA regulation.

As sports have become an increasingly profitable and lucrative business in America and the world, the contracts and fees given to some of the athletes have risen exponentially. In the NBA, Stephen Curry was awarded with a 5 year, 200 million dollar contract for his efforts with the Golden State Warriors, and in soccer, the the world record fee paid by a club to obtain a player has more than tripled over the last 15 years. With so much money in the game, many fans are left wondering how far this can go.

“I don’t even know if Neymar is worth 20 million, let alone 200 million. I think it’s ridiculous that players are so expensive, but I don’t really mind Neymar’s decision.” Isaac Batio, junior, said.

Whether you are a fan of FC Barcelona or Paris Saint Germain, there is no doubt the world of soccer has been changed by this incredible transfer.

Photo credit: Sports Illustrated