Neymar. Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior. Millionaire. Pretty-boy. FC Barcelona. Attacker. All facts. Transfer fee from Santos FC to FC Barcelona? ‘€57 million? LIES!!’, as the accusation taken to court by a ‘socio’ called Jordi Cases – a life-long member of FC Barcelona with a uninhibited hatred towards a certain Mr. Rosell. When Mr. Cases inquired with FC Barcelona about the transfer papers of Neymar, all he wanted was to be told ‘we paid over the odds, or else he would not have arrived.’ Now, those of us in the inner circle at Football Paradise knew that Neymar’s transfer was way too cheap, especially after Madrid president Florentino Perez came forth and said that the Brazilian would have cost his club an eye-watering €150m+, making the fee for CR7 and Gareth Bale seem like pocket change. However, when Jordi-boy was turned down- I would expect politely – by the club hierarchy on account of the confidentiality clause in the contract, the guy went to a Madrid court and filed a case against the board members of FC Barcelona. When the matter finally did reach a judge’s desk, it led to a series of events that ended in Sandro Rosell resigning from his post as manager of FC Barcelona, Neymar’s father revealing he had been ‘paid off’ to the tune of between €11m and €40m and that DIS and Santos, thought to hold the rights to Neymar had, in fact, been conned by FC Barcelona, Neymar, Rosell and Neymar’s father.
The allegations in this case continue to fly thick and fast as a potentially reputation destroying court case boils on the surface, waiting to explode into a whole plethora of name-calling, allegations and counter allegations, denials followed by acceptance of guilt and then ultimately, someone will suffer a little while the club suffers a lot. And this isn’t just any club. Up until Laporta’s era, Barcelona were considered saint-like, always playing with a certain fairness on and off the pitch. If, however, there is any truth to the statement that Rosell paid a €10m advance to Neymar’s father in 2011, nearly three years before the Brazilian completed his move, then that reputation is as strong as a piece of paper in a tornado. Underhand tactics were first noticed in the Rosell era when the club’s honorary president Johann Cruyff was stripped of his position which led to an outcry from everyone. Back then, the Dutchman said he left ‘amicably’ because he didn’t agree with the president’s methods and we all thought it to be a case of the sour grapes and typical finger-pointing. Come 2014 however, and the former Barcelona and Ajax legend seems more correct then ever.
Of course, what all this means is nothing really. Barcelona have three wins from four since the change of president and continue to go about business as usual bar the now standard blip in form all clubs have. In fact, it can be argued that since Rosell has left the team have played their best football under Tata Martino’s tutelage. Neymar, meanwhile, crucially so, is recovering from an injury and is closer to a return but will undoubtedly feel the pressure of a hundred thousand eyes on his back the next time he steps out onto the pitch at the Nou Camp. What this has done is, put the spotlight and pressure back on FC Barcelona. A club known for family values, a club that prides itself on its motto and its transparency. The cules may be shocked but the players, as Martino said, have been through worse and they have responded with aplomb so far. Hopefully they can continue in this rich vein of form and romp to a few titles, shutting everyone up along the way.
And as far as shutting people up is concerned, it seems that Jordi Cases, the original plaintiff who took the board of the club to court, will withdraw his complaint after Rosell stepped down if the club give it to him in writing that they will not pursue damages. As far as this matter is concerned, its upto the club to decide a course of action. A club that so far, has been transparent and is owned by the people of Catalunya, suddenly sees its reputation as a squeaky clean corporate entity come under threat because one Mr.Rosell wanted an era-defining signing in Neymar. After all, when he worked to bring in Ronaldinho, he was pivotal himself but it was Laporta who took all the plaudits and all the success that came off that Brazilian win in the transfer market. In the end, the political stance that Rosell took was his downfall and he was caught out by a club member fully entitled to the documents he wanted produced. If only he had been wiser and just shown Jordi Cases the documents required in private, perhaps Barca wouldn’t have this ordeal to contend with in a tight season that seems destined to finally be more than just a two-horse race in the La Liga and the other competitions getting tighter as well.
Lets not kid ourselves, football IS and always will be a game of politics. We know as much with Sepp Blatter v. Ronaldo that I’ve already written of. And now, its Jordi Cases v. FC Barcelona over Neymar. Let’s hope the club does its talking on the pitch, as it has done for nearly the last decade. It doesn’t matter that there’s potential lawsuits awaiting, it’s the reputation that matters to every Cule around the world and every fan of not just the Azulgrana but also of the beautiful game we love hopes this matter is quashed and becomes a thing of the past. It takes forever to build a reputation as fearsome as Barcelona have by playing beautiful football. Imagine what this team could do if they played ugly.