Meet Soccer's $600 Million Man (Or What Qatar Is Doing While Its Economy Collapses)
Brazilian superstar soccer player Neymar (yes one name… on the right in the image below), just smashed all previous records for crazy spending by European football soccer teams.
Dwarfing the money in America’s NFL, NBA, or MLB, the 25-year-old forward has agreed to join French side Paris St.Germain (PSG) for a stunning EUR222 million ($250 million).
As Statista’s Martin Armstrong notes, the previous record, set last season when Manchester United bought midfielder Paul Pogba from Juventus, was an already astronomical €105 million.
You will find more statistics at Statista
How can a deal like this come about? The answer is release clauses. It is reasonably common practice for players, not just the elite, to have a clause in their contract which would force the club to sell if triggered.
Neymar’s is €222 million. While this is an obscene amount of money, it is by no means the highest release clause. Real Madrid and Portugal megastar Cristiano Ronaldo reportedly has a clause in his contract set at €1 billion.
The unprecedented scale of the deal also sparked rumours that Barcelona could make a complaint to European footballing organisation UEFA over a failure to adhere to Financial Fair Play rules. Introduced seven years ago, the rules are designed to stop clubs from spending more than they earn.
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This year he was placed third on Forbes magazine’s list of the highest-paid footballers behind Ronaldo and Messi.
Born in Mogi das Cruzes, a small city east of Sao Paulo, Neymar da Silva Santos Junior is the only son of former professional footballer Neymar Santos and wife Nadine.
On the pitch, during his four seasons in Catalonia, Neymar has helped Barcelona win the Spanish league twice, the Champions League once, the Spanish cup on three occasions and the FIFA Club World Cup.
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While the transfer fee itself is a record, the now-former Barcelona player will also be paid £595,000 ($780,000) a week, it was reported. This means PSG will have to fork out £31million ($41 million) a year in wages, taking the total cost of the deal to more than £350 million over five years ($450 million).
With bonuses also included if he plays well, it could reach more than £450million ($600 million)!
But, as The Daily Mail reports, money is no issue for the French side, which is one of the world’s richest clubs following their takeover by Qatar Sports Investments (QSi), an arm of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund with access to £194billion.
QSI already has its own Masters golf tournament, sponsors the ‘Qatar’ Goodwood Festival and Royal Ascot, and is controversially set to host 2022 World Cup, a deal which has been surrounded by allegations of bribery and corruption.
The country – currently locked in a bitter diplomatic dispute with its neighbours who have accused its government of supporting terrorism – is seeing its economy collapse (and currency crash) as it is forced to import cows directly due to blockade shortages of milk, but is still willing to cough up all this money for one gifted young soccer player in the hope of winning Europe’s biggest soccer competition – The Champions League… which has so far eluded them.