Football News

How Barcelona players tried to help Neymar escape his “golden prison”, according to Gerard Pique

By Ben Green

Published: 10:59, 1 November 2019

Gerard Pique has explained how his Barcelona teammates offered to alter the structure of their wage packages in order to navigate FFP and facilitate the purchase of Neymar. 

Barca were in hot pursuit of the PSG superstar over the summer, but a move ultimately failed to materialise on account of an insubstantial offer, according to Parisian director Leonardo.

Why didn’t Barcelona sign Neymar? Five things to know…

  • A series of off-field problems and public comments saw PSG openly admit Neymar was for sale.
  • Even head coach Thomas Tuchel confirmed the world’s most expensive player wished to leave.
  • PSG say Barcelona submitted their first offer less than a week before the transfer window closed.
  • The offer was a loan deal with an obligation to purchase for €170m, according to reports from France…
  • …where Le Parisien say PSG wanted two senior players in addition to a fee of just over €100m.

The Brazilian phenom appeared destined to return to Catalonia at various stages across the summer window, but a deal couldn’t be agreed upon with the Ligue 1 giants.

It was believed that Financial Fair Play was the overriding stumbling block in the transfer, but Pique has since revealed how he and his teammates tried to convince president Josep Maria Bartomeu to change the terms of their wage agreements in order to get around Uefa’s monetary regulations.

“Neymar back to Barcelona? In football, anything can happen,” Pique told Cadena Ser.

“We already told him: you’re going to a golden prison. The doors are open for him [to return].

“What’s been said, that he wants to return to Barcelona, yes [it’s true].

“We told Bartomeu that if payments were deferred on contracts to adjust to financial fair play in order for Neymar to join, we’d do it.”

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‘Neymar has to leave PSG’

Barcelona and Brazil legend Rivaldo has suggested his fellow countryman needs to leave PSG in order to fulfil his true potential.

The 27-year-old has come under the spotlight and been subjected to criticism from some sections of the match-going Parisian fanbase.

He has since vowed to give his all for the PSG cause in light of the intense summer speculation, but Rivaldo believes he must still leave the French capital.

He said: “I believe a lot in Neymar. But I think he has to leave [PSG].

“That’s why he wanted to leave at this transfer window at any cost, PSG is a great club but not one for the level of Neymar.

“I think that, at a world stage, everybody talks only about Barcelona, Real Madrid and some other big clubs from England, some from Germany.

“He has to go to a club that has more history at Champions [League].

“Of course, if he wins the Champions [League] and can be a world champion, it will be much easier to become the best player in the world.”