The Qatar connection to soccer’s record Neymar transfer

Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar looks on during the UEFA Champions League quarter final first leg football match Juventus vs Barcelona, on April 11, 2017 at the Juventus stadium in Turin.  / AFP PHOTO / Marco BERTORELLO        (Photo credit should read MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images)
Neymar leaves Barcelona for world record fee
00:55 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

Brazilian soccer phenomenon is leaving one of the world's best clubs for a lesser known team

Behind it all is Qatari cash, and the country's desire for status

CNN  — 

The departure of Neymar from Barcelona to Paris St Germain for a world record fee has it all. A young Brazilian soccer player who came to Europe to seek fame and fortune is offered ludicrous sums to abandon a world-famous club for a Qatari-bankrolled upstart.

The deal speaks volumes about the almost insane sums of money being thrown at players and clubs in Europe as the continent’s transfer market goes into hyper-drive. The influx of cash into European soccer over the past few years has been driven by the Gulf states and (more recently) by China, and by the enormous revenues earned by the top clubs through sponsorship and television rights.

This time last year, Manchester United set a world record transfer fee when they bought Paul Pogba from Juventus for (the equivalent of) $116 million. Neymar’s exercise of his release clause at Barca cost his new employers $263 million.