Barcelona superstar Neymar will stay at Barcelona after signing a contract extension with the Catalan club, but he was really, really close to joining Paris Saint-Germain.
Neymar's agent Wagner Ribeiro revealed last week that his client was very close to signing for the French powerhouse on the most expensive transfer of all time. Ribeiro said at the time that PSG were not only ready to pay the player's full release clause (€190 million) to buy him out of Barcelona, but also offered him the richest contract a player would have ever signed.
Ribeiro spoke to ESPN Brazil this week and gave more details on PSG's offer, and they are truly spectacular:
"They called and said to Neymar, 'What do you want to play for PSG? We have what you want'. Neymar started to laugh. I asked what they were offering us. I spoke to Oliver [Letang, PSG's former sporting director], who said they could set up a network of hotels around the world and give us a percentage of the benefits.
"I was surprised. How does that work? Neymar owning a hotel?
"It was explained that there would be no problems with tax in France. He said, 'I can get you a private jet for your travel to Brazil, for when you join up with the Brazil team'.
"Neymar was enthusiastic. They also said he was going to be the number one in the team, which isn't the case at Barcelona.
"They offered an outrageously high and unrealistic figure: €40m, tax free, when he earned €9.5m at Barca.
"It was me who brought Nasser Al-Khelaif to Sao Paulo. I said to Neymar that it was an offer out of reality, that he'd become the best paid player in the world and there would be no player earning more than him.
"It was me who leaked PSG's offer to the press and while I was speaking with PSG, Neymar's father was in talks with Barcelona. He used PSG to renew with Barca.
"If Ney stayed, it's because he wants to be at Barcelona, he's happy at the club and in the city. I wanted him to go to PSG but Neymar's dad, however, made him stay."
Source: ESPN Brazil via FourFourTwo
Private jets, hotels and a €40 million salary, tax-free. He's now got a €17 million/year contract, no planes or hotels, but Neymar will stay at his dream club. Guess money can't really buy everything.