Neymar’s New Barcelona Contract May Make Him the World’s Highest Paid Soccer Player

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FC Barcelona’s trident MSN remains intact, for now. Brazilian superstar Neymar has extended his contract with the reigning La Liga champions FC Barcelona for another five years. The Brazil captain will remain in Catalonia until June 2021.

Neymar has repeatedly been linked with French giants Paris Saint-Germain as of late, a team that’s searching for a replacement for Manchester-United-bound Zlatan Ibrahimovic. But PSG may be opting for a more restrained transfer policy in seasons to come. Manchester were also in the race, but those rumors were never serious, according to media reports. Speculation had been rife that Neymar wanted to escape Lionel Messi’s shadow at Barcelona by seeking a prime destination.

The 24-year-old’s buy-out clause has been fixed at an astonishing $222.7 million for the first year of his contract. That figure increases as his contract progresses: $247.2 million for the second year and $278.3 million for the remaining three years. With the clause, Barcelona has send a message to other clubs that their golden boy from Brazil is not for sale.

Neymar’s contract extension will be formalized with a presentation on July 15 in Barcelona before he joins the Brazilian team to prepare for the 2016 Rio Olympics. Neymar didn’t play at Copa América Centenario, wherein Brazil exited prematurely in the first round. Brazil has never an Olympic gold medal and the tournament is high on Neymar’s agenda.

The Brazilian arrived in the summer of 2013 at FC Barcelona in a risky move, a year before the World Cup. He left his luxurious position of talisman at Santos behind for the challenging environment of Barcelona, where he had to integrate and fight for his place.

After three seasons in Catalonia, Neymar’s statistics are excellent. He has scored 85 goals in 141 games for his club, 15 in his first season, 39 in his second and 31 in his third. Neymar has won the league twice, the Copa del Rey twice, the European Super Cup, the Spanish Super Cup, and the Club World Cup with Barcelona. Last year, the Brazilian also scored in the Champions League final against Juventus in 2015. Barcelona won 3-1.