Real behind Neymar case, implies Barca boss

BARCELONA: Barcelona President Josep Maria Bartomeu insinuated that bitter enemies Real Madrid had a part to play in the Neymar transfer court case in which he has been called to give evidence.

“We have done nothing wrong and we will keep saying the truth. The signing of Neymar took place using the most prestigious lawyers,” Bartomeu told Spanish television.

“Other clubs wanted to sign Neymar paying more money but they didn’t manage it and they didn’t like that. Someone now has overstepped the line.”

Bartomeu will be questioned on February 13 over whether Barcelona and their directors defrauded the Spanish tax office of €2.8 million during the 2014 tax year.

Barcelona initially claimed that the cost of the Neymar transfer from Santos ahead of last season was €57.1 million but the case was taken to court by a fan seeking transparency over the deal.

Bartomeu added, “I’m not saying Madrid are behind this but Neymar’s father told me that there were two offers: Barca and Madrid. Madrid wanted to buy him and were ready to pay more for him.

“A year ago Neymar was playing well and then all this fuss suddenly came up. Maybe somebody doesn’t like him. Now again he is playing well and there is another judicial process.”

Former president Sandro Rosell resigned in January, 2014, after a judge decided to investigate and call him to testify. Bartomeu, having replaced Rosell, gave a breakdown of the cost of the Neymar transfer which revealed that it amounted to €86.2 million with the inclusion of payments to the player and his family.

Judge Pablo Ruz feels there is sufficient argument to investigate a claim that tax was not paid on an outstanding instalment of the transfer that took place at the start of Bartomeu’s presidency in January last year.