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Neymar keen to help PSG conquer Europe after £200m move

 

By Robert Jones

Neymar has pledged to help Paris St Germain "conquer the titles" the fans crave after completing a world-record €222m (£200.6m) transfer to the ambitious French club.

The 25-year-old Brazil forward, whose release from Barcelona was secured for €222m yesterday afternoon, has signed a five-year deal with PSG.

Owned by Qatar Sports Investments, the Parisians' principal target remains winning the Champions League, a competition in which they have consistently failed to progress beyond the quarter-finals.

Neymar, a Champions League winner with Barca in 2015, has now committed to the challenge of landing Europe's top prize with PSG, telling his new team's official website: "I am extremely happy to join Paris St Germain.

"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, is to help the club to conquer the titles their fans want.

"PSG's ambition attracted me, along with the passion and the energy this brings. I will do everything I can to help my new team-mates, to open up new horizons for my club and to bring happiness to its millions of supporters around the world."

The Sao Paulo-born striker will meet the press in Paris today before being formally presented on the Parc des Princes pitch.

Neymar had indicated his desire to depart Barcelona, for whom he scored more than 100 goals, on Wednesday.

At the Nou Camp he formed the fabled 'MSN' strike partnership along with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez that delivered a treble of league, cup and Champions League in the 2014-15 season.

Neymar was the driving force behind Barcelona's remarkable comeback against PSG in the European quarter-finals last season. He scored twice and set up the winner as the Catalans won 6-1 to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit.

French newspaper Le Parisien have claimed he will earn €30m (£27m) net per year, or close to €600,000 (£540,000) each week after tax at PSG.

The Parisians' president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, the Qatari businessman who led the acquisition of the Ligue 1 outfit in 2011, was delighted to get his man.

"It is with immense joy and pride that we welcome Neymar to PSG," he said. "Neymar is today one of the very best players in world football. His winning mentality, strength of character and sense of leadership have made him into a great player.

"He will bring a very positive energy to this club. In six years, we have built a very ambitious project that has already taken us to the highest level of national and European football.

"Today, with the arrival of Neymar, I am convinced that we will come even closer, with the support of our faithful fans, to realising our greatest dreams."

Barcelona, meanwhile, have passed the details of the deal to Uefa. The fee obliterates the previous record of €105m - worth £89m at the time - that Manchester United paid Juventus for Paul Pogba last summer.

The Catalan club are keen for the governing body to "determine the disciplinary responsibilities that may arise from this case" with issues of Financial Fair Play and adherence to European transfer rules in mind.

Earlier yesterday, Neymar's lawyers were sent to La Liga headquarters in Madrid to pay the huge fee, only to be snubbed.

France's own league body, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), were quick to tell their Spanish counterpart to "abide by the rules", yet Neymar's team instead went to Barcelona directly to conclude the operation.

There was some humour to be found amid the debate around the incredible figure paid.

National League North side North Ferriby tweeted a spoof announcement of Neymar in one of their shirts.

They captioned it with: "We are delighted to announce that we've pipped PSG to the post. In other news, season passes are £2,845,212."

Away from football, the world of sport is seemingly stunned at the money involved.

American show SportsCenter tweeted a graphic of 10 of the NBA's leading players - including LeBron James and Steph Curry - saying "this 10-man NBA roster costs $100m less than Neymar".

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