Neymar has become the most expensive player in soccer history after completing his blockbuster transfer to Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona on Thursday for 222 million euros ($262 million US).
PSG triggered the release clause in the forward’s Barcelona contract, which was more than double the previous transfer record set a year ago when Manchester United paid 105 million euros (then $116 million) for Paul Pogba.
PSG said in a statement that the 25-year-old Neymar had signed a five-year contract, until June 2022.
PSG said “his arrival into the Paris Saint-Germain family emphasizes more than ever the club’s aims to rise to the top of world football.”
In his four seasons in Spain, Neymar scored 105 goals as Barcelona won the Champions League, Club World Cup, two Spanish league titles and Copa del Rey three times.
Escaping Messi’s shadow
Neymar is escaping the shadow of five-time world player of the year Lionel Messi at Barcelona, and will become the biggest star in the French league in a team without the track record of success to match his former club.
While Barcelona has lifted the European Cup five times and won the FIFA Club World Cup three times, PSG is yet to win either prestigious competition.
“I am extremely happy to join Paris Saint-Germain,” Neymar said in a statement. “Since I arrived in Europe, the club has always been one of the most competitive and most ambitious. And the biggest challenge, what most motivated me to join my new teammates, is to help the club to conquer the titles that their fans want.”
PSG’s announcement put an end to a saga that started about two weeks ago with rumours of his possible transfer. PSG had already tried to lure him to the City of Light last summer.
Neymar’s representatives cleared the way for the former Santos player to join PSG by paying the buyout clause earlier Thursday. Neymar is expected in Paris on Friday and will hold a news conference early in the afternoon, PSG said.