PSG will pay a record €222 million for the 25-year-old Brazilian.
Ending an extended transfer saga, Paris Saint-Germain finalized Thursday the acquisition of Neymar from Barcelona.
Barcelona and Neymar finalized his contract buyout on Thursday, making the Brazilian forward a free agent and able to sign with Paris after weeks of protracted rumors. The buyout clause paid Barcelona a whopping €222 million. PSG officially announced the news after terms were completed.
The transfer fee shatters the previous record of €105 million, which Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last summer.
“I am extremely happy to join Paris Saint-Germain,” Neymar said in a statement. “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 my new teammates is to help the club to conquer the titles that their fans want.
“Paris Saint-Germain’s ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings. I played 4 seasons in Europe and I feel ready to take the challenge. From today, I will do everything I can to help my new teamates, to open up new horizons for my club and to bring happiness to its millions of supporters around the world.”
Neymar joined Barcelona from Brazilian side Santos for €57.1 million in 2013 and quickly established himself at the Catalan club. Along with fellow forwards Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, Neymar was one-third of the famous ‘MSN’ frontline that terrorized defenses across Europe. He maintained a terrific scoring record throughout his time at Barcelona, tallying 68 goals in 123 La Liga appearances and 103 in 182 appearances across all competitions.
At Barcelona, Neymar won two La Liga titles, three Copa Del Rey trophies and a Champions League trophy.
He signed a five-year contract extension in 2016, but rumors began to swirl this summer that he might want to leave the Spanish giants, perhaps in order to escape Messi's (metaphorically) monumental shadow. Neymar will be the point man and face of PSG, while he was relegated to second (or third) fiddle at Barcelona.
The transfer saga lasted weeks, and seemingly every key figure in world soccer—including multiple Barcelona players—chimed in. Despite the potential distraction, Neymar played for Barcelona in the International Champions Cup, scoring three goals in two matches. Speculation picked up when Neymar reportedly agreed to terms with the French side last week, but both clubs and the player did not acknowledge the report.
Securing the transfer is a massive move for PSG, which acquires one of the world's best players who, at 25 years old, is in the heart of his prime. His quality should help the club challenge for Champions League titles with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich. The side finished second to AS Monaco in Ligue 1 last season and was knocked out by Barcelona in the Champions League round of 16 in dramatic fashion.
The breakup of the ‘MSN’ line is a blow to Barcelona, but the Spanish side will surely make some big-name acquisitions with the massive influx of funds.