The court case over Neymar’s transfer from the Brazilian club Santos to FC Barcelona 9 years ago continues. And though both the star and clubs have long moved on, the stakes are still high for both sides as the basic facts of the multimillion-dollar transfer are presented for public consumption in Spain.
“I didn’t participate in the negotiations. My father always took care of it and always will. I sign everything he tells me to sign,” Neymar testified in court in response to allegations that he and his family colluded with FC Barcelona and Santos to mask the true cost of the deal for his 2013 transfer. He and his father are among nine defendants facing these fraud and corruption-related charges.
Spanish prosecutors are currently seeking a two-year prison term and a 10 million euro fine for the Brazilian star, and a five-year prison term for Sandro Rosell, Barcelona’s former President, alongside an $8.4 million euro fine for the club amid allegations that FC Barcelona and Santos colluded to avoid paying Brazilian investment firm DIS, which owned 40% of the rights to Neymar, their cut.
In addition, DIS has asked for a five-year prison term for both Neymar and his father, $32.1 million in compensation plus a $190 million fine for the Spanish state, and for Neymar to not be allowed to play fútbol during the time of his punishment.
All defendants have denied any wrongdoing and the trial is set to end on October 31st.
Neymar now plays for PSG (Paris Saint-Germain F.C.) and is preparing to represent Brazil in the FIFA 2022 World Cup, which starts in a little over a month. Barcelona – once one of the best teams in the world – is currently struggling in both La Liga and the Champions League, and looks like a shadow of the mighty team they once were. And now things could take a steep turn for Neymar, and an even worse one for Barcelona, if they are found guilty of the fraud and corruption charges against them.