Neymar scuffles with Barcelona teammate as media report PSG deal is ‘finalized’

Barcelona fans had more reason to bite their nails on Friday as star Neymar, who’s been linked to a record $258 million transfer deal to Paris Saint-Germain, walked out of a team training exercise after getting into a scuffle with a new teammate.

The clash, which happened in Miami ahead of the team’s friendly against Real Madrid scheduled for Saturday, involved new Barcelona right-back Nelson Semedo, who, according to the Daily Mail, delivered a rough tackle to Neymar during the training on Friday morning.


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Upset with his teammate, Neymar can be seen kicking back at Semedo, who quickly walks away as a few other Barcelona players step in to calm the scuffle. Neymar, however, appeared to remain upset and tried to run after the 23-year-old Portuguese player, but the Brazilian was unsuccessful as defender Sergio Busquets held him back.

After a few more seconds of tension, Neymar then removed his training jersey and walked out of practice.

This kind of jawing isn’t necessarily unusual in the sport between teammates. However, because Neymar has yet to announce whether he’ll remain with Barcelona or transfer to PSG, it’s taking on a larger meaning.

Neymar is already said to be unhappy at Barcelona because he is sick of “playing second fiddle” to star striker Lionel Messi, according to Sky Sports, which estimates Neymar’s chances of leaving for Paris are 90 percent.

Some French media, however, are saying the deal is nearly 100 percent complete.

“All agreements are finalized, even the discussions around the details,” a source supposedly in Neymar’s camp told France’s RMC Sport. The French paper L’Equipe is reporting similar news.

The reports say Neymar has committed to a five-year deal that will net him 30 million euros per year (about $35 million). That’s far more than the Brazilian is making at Barcelona. According to Forbes, Neymar’s salary amounted to $15 million last season.

The money is surely enticing, and the transfer would also put Neymar’s name in the record books for most expensive transfer fee a club has paid for a player. To acquire Neymar, PSG will have to pay the player’s release clause to Barcelona, which amounts to 222 million euros (about $260 million). The current transfer record amounts to about $116 million, which Manchester United paid Juventus last year for Paul Pogba.

According to L’Equipe, that release clause fee is the only holdup preventing PSG and Neymar from announcing the deal. Not only has gathering the money proven difficult, but European soccer rules dictate how much debt a club can run up when acquiring players. According to the Financial Fair Play rules, clubs aren’t allowed to accumulate more than 30 million euors in debt over the course of three years. This is to ensure clubs don’t spend more than they can afford to scoop up star players.

Barcelona officials have repeatedly said that they do not want to give up Neymar, so it seems unlikely they would negotiate the fee.

Neymar’s teammates, too, have been actively pleading with the player to stay.

“There is no better place than with us, and we have tried to convince him of that,” defender Gerard Pique told reporters earlier this week. “The French league, with all due respect, if you don’t win the Champions League there then he is not going to get the recognition that he deserves playing there.”

“I really love Neymar,” Luis Suarez told The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell. “Better than Barcelona, better than being with the best player in the world, it’s not something he will have anywhere else. I think what he needs to do is enjoy this great team, enjoy this city, which is Barcelona. He’s not going to be better anywhere else.”

The Washington Post

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