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Deal sealed:PSG sign Neymar for world record 222m euros

By Michael Abayateye
Neymar

Paris St-Germain have signed Brazil forward Neymar for a world record fee of 222m euros (£200m) from Barcelona.

The deal for the 25-year-old smashes the previous record set when Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United from Juventus for £89m in August 2016.

Neymar will earn 45m euros (£40.7m) a year - 865,000 euros (£782,000) a week - before tax from the initial five-year deal, a total outlay of £400m.

Barcelona told French club PSG they must pay the transfer fee "in full".

After weeks of speculation, Neymar arrived for training with Barcelona on Wednesday with his father and representative, and told the Spanish club he wanted to leave.

He was then given permission by Barca manager Ernesto Valverde to leave to "sort out his future".

In Spain, a release clause can only be activated by a player buying himself out of his contract.

But when Neymar's lawyers attempted to make the deposit on Thursday, La Liga officials rejected the payment. Further statements followed from all sides as the negotiations continued.

La Liga believes PSG are violating Uefa's Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules and Barcelona previously said they would report PSG to European football's governing body Uefa for a FFP breach.

PSG believes La Liga was acting unlawfully, while the French league (LFP) said it was "surprised" and urged its Spanish counterpart to "abide by the Fifa rules".

So later on Thursday, Neymar's representatives paid the 222m euros (£200m) fee at Barca's offices instead.

FFP rules, first implemented during the 2011-12 season, stipulate that European clubs cannot outspend what they earn by more than 30m euros.

PSG is backed by money from Gulf state Qatar and La Liga president Javier Tebas has accused the French club of "financial doping".

Neymar joined Spanish giants Barca in 2013 and has won two La Liga titles and one Champions League

PSG reached the last eight of the Champions League last season - knocked out by a Neymar-inspired Barcelona - and were beaten to the French title by Monaco.

It is the first time PSG - ranked the 11th most valuable club in the world by Forbes - have broken the global transfer record, with Real Madrid paying five of the past six highest fees. The deal dwarfs the £89m Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer - the previous world record.

His departure from Barcelona breaks up the feted attacking trident he formed with Argentina captain Lionel Messi and Uruguay forward Luis Suarez.

On Thursday, Messi posted on Instagram: "It was a great pleasure to have shared all these years with you my friend Neymar. I wish you good luck in this new stage of your life." To which Neymar replied: "Thank you brother. I will miss you."

Source: BBC Sports