SAO PAULO, Brazil — Neymar’s father said Tuesday that Barcelona paid his company 10 million euros in 2011 to guarantee the right to sign the talented Brazilian player.
The revelation provided the latest insight into the high-profile transfer that led to the resignation of Barcelona President Sandro Rosell last week amid allegations he hid the real cost of the deal in false contracts.
Neymar’s father, who is also called Neymar and is also the player’s agent, said he decided to address the media to show the family had done nothing wrong. He said he wants Neymar focused only on the upcoming World Cup.
"We don’t owe anything in Brazil or in Spain," he said in a press conference. "We are doing this because we want to give some peace to my son so he can play the World Cup without this bothering him."
Neymar's father said another 30 million was paid by Barcelona to his company after the deal was finalized last year. Barcelona said it spent a total of 57 million euros on Neymar, with 17 million going to Neymar's former club, Santos.
The salary for the 21-year-old Neymar is 56.7 million euros over five years, Barcelona said last week when it offered details on the contract after a Spanish judge agreed to hear a lawsuit brought by a club member alleging irregularities.
Neymar's father said that although Barcelona paid the 10 million euros in advance in 2011, the Spanish club was not breaking FIFA rules that prevent teams from luring players under contract with other clubs. He said Santos knew about the deal and that the money was paid to his company, not directly to Neymar.
The deal, however, came before Barcelona and Santos faced each other in the final of FIFA's Club World Cup in December of 2011. Neymar was not a factor in the match and Barcelona easily won 4-0.
Neymar's father said that if the player changed his mind and decided to go to another club, or if something happened to keep him from signing with Barcelona, he would have had to return the money to the Spanish club.
"We had a lot of great offers at the time," Neymar's father said. "We needed some guarantees."
Neymar, touted as Brazil's biggest star and the player in charge of leading the five-time world champions at the World Cup at home, rejected a 35 million-euro offer from Chelsea in 2010, and several other teams reportedly tried to sign the young striker after that, including Barcelona rival Real Madrid.
Neymar's father said he pushed for Neymar to close the deal with Barcelona before last year's Confederations Cup because he was afraid his son could be touted as a "villain" had Brazil lost the tournament.
"As a father, I knew that if Brazil had failed Neymar would be blamed by everyone," he said. "That's why I requested for the transfer at that time."
Neymar's contract with Santos would have ended after this year's World Cup. He was voted the most valuable player in the World Cup warm-up tournament won by Brazil at home.