At the beginning of the 2017 summer transfer window, Cristiano Ronaldo was making the headlines by supposedly wanting to leave Real Madrid. But transfer rumors are often, lack of a better term, fake news. Cristiano Ronaldo is still at Real Madrid, and on the outside looking in, happy as ever.
Fast forward to the end of the summer transfer window, it is the Brazilian and Barcelona star, Neymar Jr., who is making endless headlines by wanting to leave Barcelona for PSG. Every other day, the headlines read something different, contradicting the previous report.
And this was not even the first time Neymar had been linked with a move away from Barcelona.
Many speculated it was a repeat of last year’s events, where Neymar had been linked to PSG and Manchester United. Rather than actually making the move to either club, he got a new five-year contract at Barcelona with a £198 million release clause. When this year’s rumor was originally reported, no one took it seriously. Many had reason to believe the reports had to be more rumors—maybe even another marketing ploy, which is why many other rich clubs like Manchester United, Manchester City, and Chelsea were never keen on Neymar’s signature.
But as the days passed with no official word from Neymar’s camp and the reports about Neymar’s wishes to come out of Lionel Messi’s shadow, rumors suddenly turned into more than just rumors—they were facts.
At the moment, the facts are that Neymar has told Barcelona he wants to leave. He has agreed to a five-year deal worth £515,000-a-week wages after tax. His Barcelona ex-teammates have said goodbye—Lionel Messi posted an Instagram montage. And according to reports, Neymar has completed a medical.
PSG still has to pay the astronomical release clause of £198 million for Neymar. After adding wages and bonuses, the deal could be worth £450 million.
However, many reports have surfaced about how Neymar’s move to PSG could be blocked due to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP). Speaking to the Madrid based newspaper, AS, La Liga President Javier Tebas explained that the league will not accept the money from PSG and will file a complaint to UEFA and the European Union for failing to meet the Financial Fair Play bylaws and using funds that do not comply.
“The complaint is ready and will be presented to UEFA, the European Union, and the Swiss Court, which are the courts that have jurisdiction. Basically, what will be denounced is the unfair competition that involves competing against the clubs/state, the teams that receive economic injections from countries that give away players to their fans at the expense of removing them from others. As for PSG, it is a clear example of financial doping, club/state. The PSG accounts reflect that it has more commercial income than Real Madrid or Manchester United, meaning that its brand value is higher than the two clubs. Well, this is impossible.”
PSG has already breached FFP once, and if found doing so a second time, the punishment will be more severe. Tebas hopes that UEFA steps in to “ensure that financial fair play is respected and [clubs] avoid economic doping.” To make this story even more complicated, the head of UEFA’s Club Licensing Committee and Financial Fair Play, Andrea Traverso, suggested that to their knowledge, PSG has been following the FFP rules. He told Gazzetta dello Sport (via Football Italia), “the rules are the same for everyone if a club buys then we’ll assume they’ve balanced the accounts. If not, they’ll be punished, but we can’t stop them buying.”
Tebas comments make sense for the protection of the game, but clubs cannot report each other for breaching Financial Fair Play. Regardless if a club can or cannot file, they “will file suit immediately.”
Reports suggest Neymar will be a PSG player by Friday. Once this transfer saga is over, it will send a ripple effect through the footballing community.
To add even more juice to this crazy transfer window, Monaco’s 18-year-old wonderkid, Kylian Mbappe, has told the club he wants to move on.