Fully aware of UEFA Financial Fair Play (FFP) implications during the Neymar transfer saga this summer, it has emerged that Barcelona players offered the club the option to delay some of their wages if it would help the club land their former team-mate.
Gerard Pique told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser, ”We were ready to adjust our contracts.
”We weren’t going to contribute money, but we were going to make things easier by allowing some payments to be made in the second or third year instead of the first.
“We told [club president Josep Maria] Bartomeu, if it was necessary to delay payments in our contracts to meet FFP regulations and sign Neymar, we would do it.”
The rules, designed to prevent football’s richest owners from compressing their rivals, oblige clubs to be transparent about revenues and broadly balance them against expenditure. They also include a limit on the losses clubs can incur.
Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid were also linked with Neymar, but the forward remained at PSG despite reportedly offering to pay for some of the move himself.
His intention to leave did not go down well with PSG fans, and head coach Thomas Turchel was hesitant to bring him back into the team.
Since returning to first-team action however, Neymar has scored four goals in five Ligue 1 games, including the winner in three 1-0 victories. But he has missed the last two matches with a hamstring injury.
In less than flattering remarks, Pique also commented on Neymar’s move to PSG two years ago: “His move to PSG? We told him he was going to a golden prison, but in football anything can happen.”
Neymar left Barcelona for Paris St-Germain for a world record fee of 222m euros (£200m) in 2017.
The Catalan giants, aware that Neymar desired a return to Camp Nou, were bent on the move too, and the saga dominated summer transfer headlines across the soccer globe. However they had already gone shopping, spending huge amounts on midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Ajax and Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid, making the financial complexities of a deal too great to succeed in obtaining the Brazilian’s signature.
No-one of course will be surprised if the move happens next summer.