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The deal to sign Neymar cost Barcelona €86.2M, including payments to the forward and his family, the club said on Friday after the player's father agreed to free the club of confidentiality agreements in the contracts, according to Iain Rogers of REUTERS. Neymar's transfer from Brazilian side Santos, which the Spanish club initially said was worth €57.1M, is being "investigated by a court for possible misappropriation of funds following a complaint from a Barca member." Former Barcelona President Sandro Rosell stepped down on Thursday. Barça Dir of Football Management Raül Sanllehí reiterated the transfer on its own had cost €57.1M. However, he "also detailed other payments around the transfer" such as a signing bonus of €10M and "various other fees paid to the family that took the total cost" to €86.2M (REUTERS, 1/25). FOOTBALL ESPANA reported on Friday, Rosell's successor, Josep Maria Bartomeu, and Sanllehí gave a "full breakdown of the transfer." A sum of €29.1M "went on operating costs," explained as €2M to N and N, "named after and operated by Neymar’s parents," for "Neymar’s father to act as a scout in Brazil," €7.9M for three future players from Santos, €2.5M to Neymar’s charitable foundation and €4M for marketing. The "latter two amounts are spread over the five years of Neymar’s contract." Neymar will also receive €8.8M ($12M) in salary per year for a total salary of €44M ($60.2M) over the course of the contract. The full cost of the transfer and Neymar’s salary combined comes in at €130.2M ($178M). Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo added that "Sanllehí categorically denied rumours" Barça paid €9M to Santos "disguised as fees for friendlies." Sanllehí: "It’s the first time, and it will be the last time, we explain the salary and all the items we are paying for" (FOOTBALL ESPANA, 1/25). MARCA reported the "whole deal, not including a guaranteed salary," was €86.2M plus a €2M bonus "should he finish in the top three of the Ballon D'Or, something they consider a given." Bartomeu said that Real Madrid's meddling "had increased the player's price" and "even dared to compare the situation" with the signing of former Real Madrid footballer Di Stéfano. Bartomeu: "That happened many years ago, we have some members who still remember it well because it was a very sad episode for the club, as he would have perpetuated the hegemony of our football. We lost Di Stéfano in an office, but we have not lost Neymar" (MARCA, 1/24). In Madrid, Luis Fernando Rojo reported Jordi Cases, the Barcelona member who presented the claim against Rosell demanding the details of the Neymar signing, is "reportedly considering withdrawing his official complaint against Neymar's controversial signing." Cases "believes he has fulfilled the objective of his complaint -- which was to show the misappropriation" of €40M. Cases "values the positive attitude" of Bartomeu (MARCA, 1/26)." Rosell has been linked to former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) President Ricardo Texeira, who has "been accused" of diverting €40M (MARCA, 1/26).
MOVING FORWARD: SPORT reported former Barcelona President Joan Laporta said, "In the exceptional situation lacking the legitimacy of being chosen my members, Barcelona should hold elections at the end of the season. For the good of the club." Laporta also tweeted, "I only celebrate what I think is good for Barça, never the problems of others" (SPORT, 1/25).
ZUBIZARRETA SOUNDS OFF: MARCA reported in a separate piece Barcelona Sporting Dir Andoni Zubizarreta "applauded the show of transparency" by Bartomeu. Zubizarreta: "I've never seen a club reveal so many details about a player's contract. I've never been witness to a spectacle like that. Now I'd like to know other clubs' figures to see how they go about their business. Nevertheless, we provided the transparency that was demanded of us" (MARCA, 1/25).
ROSELL ON BRINK: In Madrid, Sergi Font wrote "it is all happening to Sandro Rosell." The "threats which he has received are just the tip of the iceberg, and there may be serious consequences in store." In Brazil, "calls were being made for him to spend eight years in prison on a criminal charge and another administrative one for the actions of his company Alianto Marketing." The former Barça president is accused of falsifying documents and profiting from certain contracts. Allegations in Brazil claim that he received €3M from the friendly between the 'Canarinha' and Portugal
SANTOS DENIES INVOLVEMENT: MUNDO DEPORTIVO reported Santos President Odilio Rodrigues said on Saturday that Santos "does not fear that the investigation into the Neymar signing will impact the club's executives." Rodrigues: "Santos has nothing to hide and does not fear anything. The accusation has nothing to do with us. The club is led by just people" (MUNDO DEPORTIVO, 1/25).
FRIENDLY FIRE: In Barcelona, Emilio Pérez de Rozas opined it is "all very Catalan." The "most long-awaited signing of the 21st century, with Real Madrid, Man City, Paris St. Germain and Bayern Munich all willing to pay what was paid, yes, yes, for Neymar, and agree to all of the confidentiality clauses -- because it is football, friends -- has become a national embarrassment." With the "entire world, from the U.S. to Australia, admiring Barça for acquiring what all the powers wanted, the club is questioned and brought to court by those at home, in Barcelona, in Catalonia." This, "in war, is called friendly fire -- in football, it is called not understanding anything, not knowing how football works." In Barcelona slang, it of course has a name: fratricide, which means "the attitude of hatred or strong animosity against relatives" (EL PERIODICO, 1/24).
Gerard Lopez replaced Frenchman Eric Boullier as principal of "the unsettled Lotus Formula One team," according to Alan Baldwin of REUTERS. The news "triggered speculation that Boullier could be heading to McLaren." McLaren, who had a miserable '13 season without a single podium finish, has yet to say who will lead their team "after Martin Whitmarsh lost his position of overall group chief executive to his returning predecessor Ron Dennis." Lotus said in a statement, "Gerard Lopez, will combine his position on the board with the role of Team Principal with immediate effect." Lotus was successful on track last season "but struggled financially off it, with talk of significant investment from the Middle East that never materialized." Lotus is also yet to confirm the renewal of its engine partnership with Renault, although that is taken as a given, and are the only team to have said it "will not attend next week's opening pre-season test in Jerez, Spain." Lotus explained the change at the top as a strengthening of its management structure and to "further increase Genii's role in the team and to close the gap between its strategic, commercial and sporting activities" (REUTERS, 1/24).
Barcelona introduced a new greeting at the club's Camp Nou stadium over the weekend. Starting with Sunday's La Liga game against Malaga, the club will "welcome international fans to the stadium" with a message played in English over the loudspeaker: "Visitors from all over the world, welcome to Camp Nou, FC Barcelona’s legendary and magical home. We are delighted to have you here and we hope you enjoy the game. Thank you very much for coming and we hope to see you back again very soon" (SPORT, 1/25). ... Sauber F1 presented the new Sauber C33-Ferrari with which drivers Esteban Gutiérrez and Adrian Sutil will be lining up on the grid for the start of the 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship. The team has signed up Giedo van der Garde as its test and reserve driver as well as Sergey Sirotkin as test driver (Sauber F1).