'Beyond Insane': Inside a $263M Sports Deal

Neymar just became the most expensive soccer player in history
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 4, 2017 1:33 PM CDT
'Beyond Insane': Inside a $263M Sports Deal
Brazilian soccer star Neymar poses for a photo following a press conference in Paris Friday, Aug. 4, 2017. Neymar arrived in Paris on Friday the day after he became the most expensive player in soccer history.   (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

“The first word that comes to mind is insane. There’s no way that it makes any economic sense. It’s insane. It’s beyond insane.” That's how one sports business expert describes the record-shattering deal that will send Neymar—widely recognized as the third-best soccer player in the world—from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain. The Washington Post reports PSG paid $263 million just to get the 25-year-old Brazilian to transfer there. It's more than double the previous highest-ever transfer fee. In addition, Neymar will get $36 million per year for five years. Here's everything you need to know about the story that's got the soccer world in a froth:

  • In a deep dive into what it calls the "story of the summer," Bleacher Report looks at Neymar's reasons for leaving Barcelona after four years for a team and league that are seen as a step down. Essentially, Neymar wants a shot at being seen as the best player in the world and wasn't going to get that chance playing alongside teammate Messi, the current best player in the world.
  • Neymar says moving to PSG wasn't about the money, the BBC reports. "If I was following the money, I would be somewhere else, with other clubs in other countries. I'm really sad that people still think that way."
  • In an opinion piece, the Independent calls Neymar's astronomical transfer fee an "insult to fans and downright immoral," connecting it to regular people's "daily struggles with the neoliberal economy."
  • PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi says anyone concerned about the amount of money the team spent on Neymar should "go have a coffee and don't worry about" it. According to the New York Times, the chairman claims adding Neymar will increase the team's value from $1 billion to $1.5 billion.
  • However, Business Insider reports PSG is being accused of breaking the Financial Fair Play rules by spending so much on Neymar. It may be required to somehow boost revenue or sell some of its players or face being booted from the Champions League.
  • PSG's acquisition of Neymar is as much about international politics as it is international soccer, according to CNN. The French team was bought by Qatari interests in 2011. Qatar throwing money at the world's third-best soccer player is a way of raising its profile in the world—the same reason it's spent money supporting Islamist rebels and intervening in neighboring conflicts.
  • Finally, GQ looks at whether Neymar as an athlete is good enough to warrant the massive payday. The answer: Possibly. He scored 106 goals in just 186 games at Barcelona, and his "talent might be akin to magic."
(More Neymar stories.)

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