Barcelona Chief Says Neymar ‘Played Cat and Mouse’ and Blames Him for Rising Transfer Fees

Barcelona vice-president Jordi Mestre has blasted Neymar’s dishonesty during his final few months at the Nou Camp, and blamed the Brazilian for the huge levels of inflation affecting transfer fees in recent times.

Neymar joined Barcelona from Santos in 2013 and went on to make 186 appearances for the Blaugrana. He moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 2016 for 222m – more than double the previous transfer record. 

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This has had a profound knock-on effect on subsequent transfer dealings, meaning that Barcelona are likely to pay over €300m for Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho once all of their add-ons and obligations are fulfilled.

And Mestre said that a lot of the consequences could have been avoided if Neymar had been more open with Barcelona towards the end of his time at the club.

“What hurt me the most was the way it happened,” Mestre told Diario Sport. “We were all on tour talking with him and his father, and they were not transparent.

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“If he came to us and said, I want to go, like Cesc [Fabregas], Pedro [Rodriguez], Alexis [Sanchez] and [Javier] Mascherano, we would have reached an agreement.

“What you can’t do is rock the boat. He played cat and mouse with us. He told us nothing. If he had done, PSG would have been able to buy him for less money and it would have cost us less to sign [replacements], too.

“What Neymar’s behaviour created was the market inflation. We would have saved a lot of money and a lot of media noise.”

Neymar has settled in well at PSG since his summer move, scoring 27 goals in 26 games for the Ligue 1 leaders. The latest of these was a pearler of a free-kick against Lille on Saturday.

PSG face Barcelona’s hated rivals Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16 later this month.


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