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
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.