Neymar joins Paris St-Germain for world record fee of €222 million

Neymar says he made the switch from Barcelona because he needed 'a new challenge'

Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari celebrates with Neymar after winning the penalty shootout against Chile  (Photo: Dennis Sabangan for EPA))
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari celebrates with Neymar after winning the penalty shootout against Chile (Photo: Dennis Sabangan for EPA))

Barcelona forward Neymar has joined Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) for a world record fee of €222 million, as Barcelona admitted defeat in convincing the Brazilian striker to stay at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

After saying goodbye to his Barca teammates, the 25-year-old travelled to Porto - where PSG sporting director Antero Henrique had worked until recently - by private jet from Barcelona to complete his medical. He was surrounded by his entourage, including his father and agent, Neymar Sr.

Neymar, who won seven major trophies in his four seasons at the Nou Camp, including the Champions League once and La Liga twice. said he needed a new challenge, whilst admitting that his father wanted him to stay at Barcelona.

At €222 million, Neymar's buyout clause would more than double the current transfer record set by Paul Pogba's €105 million move to Manchester United last year.

Earlier, Barcelona ended weeks of speculation by publicly confirming for the first time the 25-year-old's wish to leave after four years at the Camp Nou.

"Neymar Jr, accompanied by his father and representative, communicated to FC Barcelona this morning his decision to leave the club," Barcelona said in a statement.

"The club have informed them that the buyout clause in his contract, that from July 1 is 222 million euros ($260m), must be paid in full."

Neymar has been tempted to Paris by an astronomical offer that would reportedly see his wages tripled to 30 million euros ($35.6m) a year after tax.

However, on the field, he also faces the challenge of stepping out of the shadow of five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi to try and prove himself as the world's best.

"It was a huge pleasure having shared all those years with you, my friend @neymarjr," Messi posted on Instagram alongside a montage displaying some of the pair's finest moments together.

"I wish you lots of luck in this new stage in your life. See you soon tkm," he added. "Tkm" stands for "te quiero mucho" (I love you loads).

"Thanks brother. I will miss you man," Neymar replied.

Presuming both clubs don't come to a late agreement, the buyout clause would have to be paid to Barcelona via Spain's La Liga to free the player from the contract he signed last year and runs until 2021.

However, La Liga President Javier Tebas has threatened not to accept PSG's money over what he perceives as a failure on the French side's part to comply with UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules (FFP).