Neymar: Move about 'ambition not money'

The world's most expensive footballer Neymar insists it was ambition and not the lure of riches that convinced him to swap Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.

Brazil forward Neymar, 25, has signed a five-year deal with ambitious Ligue 1 club PSG after his legal representatives paid Barca 198 million ($354m) to release him from his contract at the Nou Camp.

Neymar, who won the Champions League and two La Liga titles with Barca, will reportedly earn 27m net per year at PSG, or close to 540,000 each week after tax.

But the man hailed as "the best player in the world" by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi at a press conference yesterday, stressed his desire to help the French team achieve their dream of European glory was his guiding influence.

He said: "I wanted a new challenge. This was about ambition. My heart told me that it was time to sign for Paris Saint-Germain. It was the right time to leave Barcelona and find new challenges.

"I was never motivated by money. I thought above all else about the happiness of my family, regardless of money. I regret that some people think this is the case."

Among the challenges he has signed up for at the Parc des Princes this term will be PSG's quest to reclaim the Ligue 1 title from Monaco, who in May denied the Parisians a fifth straight championship.

When asked if he feels the burden of becoming the most valuable player of all time, surpassing Paul Pogba following his 89m move to Manchester United a year ago, Neymar cracked a joke.

"It's not an extra burden. I weigh 69kg and I'll remain at 69kg."

For Al-Khelaifi, there were no second thoughts when it came to launching an historic bid for the striker who excelled alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez - forming the "MSN" strike force - for four years at Barcelona.

"For me, Neymar is the best player in the world, so we wanted to have the best player in the world," he said.

When asked about the unprecedented transfer fee received by Barcelona, Al-Khelaifi said: "Today, it might seem expensive. But in two years, it might not any more.

"Concerning Financial Fair Play, we have always been transparent."

Barcelona, meanwhile, have passed details of the deal to Uefa so the governing body might "determine the disciplinary responsibilities" concerning issues of Financial Fair Play and adherence to European transfer rules.


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