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Neymar skips training session with Barcelona as likely move to Paris Saint-Germain looms

Spanish soccer club confirms Brazilian international had meeting with senior officials

Neymar arriving at the Barcelona training grounds on Wednesday.
Neymar arriving at the Barcelona training grounds on Wednesday.Quique García / EFE

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Sources at Barcelona FC have confirmed that Brazilian international Neymar has told his teammates he is leaving. The soccer player arrived at Barcelona FC’s training ground and met with other players for a few minutes to explain his decision to leave the club. He then attended a meeting with directors of Barcelona FC.

Neymar’s intention is to sign for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), although no details have been given of any offer by the French team. Barcelona FC said that the team’s coach, Ernesto Valverde, gave Neymar permission not to attend training this morning.

After Barcelona’s successful Champions Cup tour of the United States, Neymar did not return to Spain with the rest of the team, instead traveling to China for a publicity session. He returned to Barcelona on Tuesday and this morning went to a training session to inform the club of his intention to leave.

Barcelona says it has no intention of negotiating with PSG

Fellow teammates Andrés Iniesta and Gerard Piqué had called on Neymar to clarify his position over recent days, as rumors spread of PSG’s supposed intention to trigger his €222 million release clause, saying that the situation was unsettling for the team as it prepared for the upcoming season.

Barcelona says it has no intention of negotiating with PSG. In turn, the French club will try to avoid paying the release clause, which would incur heavy taxes.

Barcelona is unhappy with Neymar and his father – who is also the 25-year-old’s representative – for not informing the club of the ongoing negotiations with PSG. The Spanish club says it intends to post with a notary public a €26 million bonus it had promised when the player renewed his contract last year to 2021. But if Neymar rescinds his contract Barcelona says it will reduce the amount. “It isn’t that we don’t want to pay. We understand that if the contract is not complied with, then all the money should not be paid,” says a source at Barcelona.

Neymar has been at Barcelona for four seasons and has played 186 matches, scoring 105 goals, setting up 80. He played a key role in Barcelona’s stunning comeback against PSG in the Champions League last 16 second-leg match in March.

But Neymar has also been at the center of controversy over alleged irregularities regarding his signing. He initially faced a two-year jail term over the matter. Now Barcelona FC faces prosecution over the signing.

A Barcelona provincial court has already found FC Barcelona guilty of failing to pay taxes on the signing of Neymar. The side has agreed to pay around €5 million for tax fraud in 2011 and 2013, when the club failed to pay more than €9 million in taxes by not declaring all the contracts involved in Neymar’s transfer from Santos FC in Brazil.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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