PSG should be wary of dealing with Neymar Sr should his son's world record move from Barcelona go through


Recent days have seen Neymar Junior jet setting - Miami on Sunday, China on Monday, Dubai on Tuesday, all the while still seemingly set on pushing through a world record €222 million move from Barcelona to Paris Saint Germain.

By contrast the Brazil captain’s father Neymar Senior has been much more direct with his movements - he flew straight from Miami to Barcelona last weekend to collect what he is owed.

One of the many sensational twists in the summer’s [or maybe history’s] most mind-boggling transfer saga was the revelation late last week that Neymar Senior was due €26 million for his son's signing of a new Barca contract just last October.

This news understandably drew even more consternation from baffled Barca supporters still coming to terms with Jr’s apparent willingness to leave the Camp Nou for Ligue 1.



Reporters at the Catalan capital’s El Prat airport on Monday looking to try and get a comment out of Neymar Senior were given short shrift. “At least show some manners,” Neymar Sr said as he brushed past.

The former amateur footballer, who then worked as a mechanic and handyman before taking charge of his then teenage son’s affairs, is not so comfortable in such situations. But he certainly knows his way around football negotiations. The €26 million figure is just the latest in a series of “bonuses” which are barely credible, even within the fantastical world of 21st century football.

This huge commission was agreed when Neymar last autumn finally signed a new deal with Barca, following many months of carefully nurtured speculation over potential moves to Manchester United, PSG or Real Madrid. That new contract, which runs until 2021, initially included a release clause of €196 million. In June 2017 [or just before it emerged that it was about to be triggered] the clause rose to its current level of €222 million. The difference is the €26 million which Neymar Sr is now claiming.

According to Sport, Barca thought they had actually done an excellent deal by keeping this commission to just €26 million. Initially, Neymar Senior was supposed to receive €10m in each of the next four summers. But the crack blaugrana negotiators persuaded him to accept the lower figure up front – saving the club [they thought] €14 million. They were wrong on that, as on so many other things.

Barca’s board are now trying to save face by freezing this bonus. So they have deposited the money with a notary in the Catalan capital, as they investigate ways to avoid paying it in full. That seems likely to end up in yet another protracted and damaging legal battle.

At this point it seems like a matter of when, not if, Junior joins PSG for the world record fee. Reports are pretty much unanimous in saying that even if some kind of cash plus player exchange deal involving Angel Di Maria or Marco Verratti is brokered, Senior gets a €36 million commission from the buying club. Which is another victory for him to chalk up. Even if some reports say this might have to shared with ‘intermediary’ Pini Zahavi, there will also soon be his automatic agent’s share of Junior’s own signing bonus and annual salary to add in.



Such commissions are not at all unheard of among the top agents in world football, with Paul Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola reportedly having made £41 million when the France midfielder moved from Juventus to Manchester United last summer in what remains [for the moment] the current world record transfer.

But Raiola took more than a decade to reach the peak of his profession, working deals for clients including Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Neymar Senior started out right at the top, wangling himself at least €50 million from his very first transfer - when Junior joined Barcelona in 2013.

That money was first claimed as a ‘penalty payment’ made as the La Liga giants wanted to bring forward the transfer by a year, then later deemed by Spanish investigators to be ‘salary’ earned by the player. But Senior himself has always maintained that it was his money, and his alone.

“Gentlemen, the money I have earned is mine,” Senior told a judge in 2015, according to Mundo Deportivo editor Santi Nolla. “I have earned it, I deserve it. It is not my son’s; he has his own other income.”

The 2013 agreement with Barca [online here] also included various payments to Senior - €2.7 million in ‘agent’s commission’, €4 million for his work for the club as a ‘commercial agent’, €2.5 million for the family’s charitable foundation, and €2 million to work as a scout looking at young emerging talent in Brazil.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu was previously happy with these deals, pointing out that Senior had helped the club seal a €1 million sponsorship deal with a Brazilian foot deodorant company. The whole arrangement does not quite smell so sweet any more.

Barca’s directors are not the first to have learned the hard way about dealing with the Neymars. Long-time advisor Wagner Ribeiro admitted earlier this summer, just before the PSG millions emerged into view, that he was no longer involved with the family.

And former Santos president Luis Alvaro da Oliveira Ribeiro was seriously burned through their dealings, as he told ESPN Brasil back in 2014.

“Neymar's father never once paid for a coffee,” the now deceased LAOR said. “I paid for the 200 coffees he had with me. He wasn't short of money. But the player’s last contract included first class tickets for him to go to every Santos away game. He takes advantage of everything, he only thinks about money. Neymar Junior is a good kid, we always had a good relationship. I thought Neymar Senior was a friend, but today if I see him in front of my car, I would not hit the brakes, I'd accelerate.”

PSG's Qatari owners have clearly decided that Neymar Senior is a man they can do business with. Whatever happens in the future they cannot say they were not warned.