Barcelona's image takes a hit with Neymar aftermath

Barcelona is suing Neymar for "breach of contract," seeking 8.5 million euros -- $10 million -- plus an additional 10 percent payment for it what it claims was a delay in its demands being met, but the move will only exacerbate what's been a bad summer for the Catalan club.

You can criticize all you want what soccer stars make these days, what clubs are willing to pay for them and -- most important -- the role of agents in facilitating player movement, but there is no one to blame for Neymar leaving for Paris St. Germain but Barcelona.

Too bad the 222 million euros ($261 million) was a sum PSG's Qatari owners were willing to pay to trigger Neymar's release clause.

To ask for Neymar's bonus payment back is a little petty. What if he had hurt himself or all of a sudden stopping playing well? Or missed an important penalty kick? Would Barca have also asked for its money back then?

Up-front bonuses are usually no-string-attached incentives to get someone to do what you want them to do.

Barcelona's explanation that it was acting in "defense of its interests" didn't fly with Neymar's representatives:

"It is noteworthy that this news was received with surprise, since the athlete completely fulfilled the contract then in force, with the full deposit of the amounts set out in the buy-out clause freely agreed with FC Barcelona for his release."

Barcelona's announcement followed Neymar's second start for PSG, a 6-2 win over Toulouse in which the Brazilian scored two goals and assisted on two more. After the game, Neymar ripped Barca's management:

“I spent four beautiful years there and parted happy, but with them [the board], no," he said. “For me, they are not the people who should be there, for the direction of Barca. Barca deserves much better. I don’t know what’s going on there, but I see my old teammates sad, and it’s that which makes me sad because I have a lot of friends there. I hope that things will improve for Barca and that they will become a team that can rival others.”

P.S. Barcelona's day -- or next morning in Spain, to be precise -- got worse as its Twitter feed was hacked. (There's no truth to the Tweet that Angel Di Maria is heading from PSG to Barcelona.)

5 comments about "Barcelona's image takes a hit with Neymar aftermath".
  1. Paul Cox, August 23, 2017 at 5:15 a.m.

    "If Barca management didn't want a release clause triggering his early departure, it shouldn't have put one in his contract. And if it wanted a release clause sufficiently high that no one would pay, it could have done that, too."

    Sorry, but neither of those statements are true. Under Spanish law, every player is entitled to leave a club if they choose; they must either pay a release amount set by a tribunal, or a previously agreed-upon amount (ie, the release clause in the contract).

    If the player believes the release clause is too high (even if he agreed to it in the contract) he can challenge it in court, as well.

  2. Paul Cox replied, August 23, 2017 at 5:25 a.m.

    It's worth noting that Ronaldo and Benzema have been rumored to have release clauses of $1 billion. That might be the case, but if they really wanted out, they could probably challenge it (successfully) in court by pointing out that no team in the world could possibly afford that price under FFP rules. The Spanish law is very firm and gives power to workers, for them to have freedom of movement.

  3. Forever Blue replied, August 23, 2017 at 12:06 p.m.

    I personally think there should be a cap on release clauses - €100m.
    Clubs should not try to force players to stay with unreasonable amounts. Also, these clauses are artificially inflating the transfer costs for players. Now Barcelona is having to deal with ridiculous transfer amounts for Dembele and Cutinho.

  4. cisco martinez, August 23, 2017 at 9:49 p.m.

    If Barcelona doesn't rescind this absurd lawsuit, everyone should boycott buying there products and hit them where it hurts!

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