Neymar of Brazil. Picture: REUTERS/UESLEI MARCENLINO
Neymar of Brazil. Picture: REUTERS/UESLEI MARCENLINO

Madrid — Brazilian Neymar’s record-breaking €222m transfer from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain appeared close to completion on Wednesday, as his agent predicted he could be unveiled by the weekend.

Teammate Lionel Messi posted a farewell message on social media to Neymar, whose agent Wagner Ribeiro was quoted on Spanish radio as saying PSG would pay Barcelona’s asking price. His client was en route to finalise the deal, Ribeiro said.

"They [PSG] are going to pay Neymar’s [€222m buyout] clause today so that he can be presented at the weekend," Ribeiro told Spanish radio station Cadena COPE.

"They [Neymar and his father] are in the air now."

The move would complete a hectic few days in which Neymar’s heavily trailed exit has inched closer.

Events moved swiftly on Wednesday when Barcelona released a statement announcing that the 25-year-old had informed them of his intention to leave, and confirming the amount of his buyout clause.

Barcelona said Neymar, "accompanied by his father and agent", had informed it "of his decision to leave the club".

The buyout clause totalled €222m, the club said.

Earlier Neymar had arrived at the club’s training ground to tell teammates he was moving to France, Catalan radio RAC1 reported. The striker left the training area minutes later, it said, with the club confirming on Twitter he had been given permission not to train.

Neymar’s departure would end a four-year stay at the club, where he formed a formidable strike force with Messi and Luis Suarez. Messi reacted to his teammate’s imminent move by posting on his Instagram account: "It was a great pleasure to have shared all these years with you, my friend @naymarjr. I wish you much luck in this new stage of your life."

In October, Neymar signed a new contract until 2021 with the buyout clause raised.

For a while it seemed the deal might stall over concerns about financial fair play (FFP).

In an interview published on Wednesday, the president of the national football league, Javier Tebas, said the league would not accept payment by PSG to trigger the release clause. It would potentially be in breach of Uefa financial fair play rules, he told Spanish sports newspaper AS.

Uefa said on Wednesday no complaint had been received, adding that European football’s governing body would not block any potential deal in advance.

"Uefa will look into the details of this transfer in due course to ensure PSG are compliant with FFP requirements," Uefa said.

"The transfer of Neymar to PSG will have an effect on the club finances over several years but the impact of such an operation cannot be judged in advance, notably as PSG could well sell several players for a significant amount. We shall therefore only make calculations at the end and make sure that they respect the rules."

PSG is one of the world’s richest clubs after its 2012 takeover by Qatar Sports Investments, an arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, which has transformed its fortunes.

Under the fair play rules, which Uefa’s FFP project leader Andrea Traverso was last week quoted by Italian newspaper Gazetta dello Sport as saying PSG was following, a club’s wage bill must not exceed 70% of its revenue.

PSG’s 2015-16 revenue was €521m, according to Deloitte’s Football Money League report issued in January.

Media sources across Europe reported that Neymar was negotiating a potential six-year deal worth more than €550,000 a week.

Neymar has been active on social media, sharing an excerpt from the New Testament (Philippians 4:11) on Instagram which read: "I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content … living in plenty or in want."

Neymar signed for Barcelona from Brazilian side Santos for €57.1m in 2013. It was later revealed that the cost was closer to €100m.

Reuters

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