Welcome to NeyWatch, a series in which we catch up with the daily, often contradictory updates on the hottest story of the summer.
NeyWatch today has reached its conclusion: Paris Saint-Germain have now ponied up the €222 million to activate Neymar’s buyout clause, and Barcelona have confirmed that Neymar’s contract with the club has been terminated. Neymar has officially signed with PSG. Our long international nightmare is over.
Neymar announced the move via an Instagram post this afternoon, in your basic, standard athlete-speak—thank the fans and thank my teammates and unforgettable this and homeland that—and described the decision as arising from a desire for new challenges, and one with which his dad didn’t necessarily agree:
I have conquered everything an athlete can conquer. I have lived unforgettable moments! I live in a city that is more than a city, it is a homeland. I love Barcelona and Catalunya.
But an athlete needs challenges.
And for the second time in my life I will take the opposite of my father.
Papa, I understand and respect your opinion, but my decision is taken, I ask you to support me as you have always done. @fcbarcelona and Catalunya will always be in my heart but I need new challenges. I have accepted the @psg to seek new conquests and help the Club achieve the titles that the fans expect. I have presented a daring career plan and I am prepared for this challenge.
I thank the affection of the Blaugrana fans and all that I have learned from the athletes with whom I have shared costumes. I also feel in my heart that the time has come to leave. @psg will be my new home for the next few years and I will work to honor the trust they place in my football.
Barcelona hoped as recently as this morning that financial fair play rules would prevent PSG from triggering Neymar’s automatic buyout, but apparently decided today to swallow hard, accept the cash, and release Neymar to move to his desired team. Neymar’s deal with PSG is reportedly for five years and €30 million per year, after taxes, with a signing bonus at least equal to the annual salary.