Barcelona president Sandro Rosell resigns: Neymar court case behind exit

An investigation is taking place into the transfer of the Brazil striker


Barcelona’s Neymar crisis deepened last night when president Sandro Rosell resigned just three weeks before the club face Manchester City in the Champions League. After an emergency board meeting at the Nou Camp, the former Nike executive – who took over from Joan Laporta in 2010 – confirmed he was leaving his post with immediate effect.

Rosell said: “My time at Barcelona has finished. Everything we have said about the Neymar transfer is correct but I do not want unjust attacks to affect the club. The signing [of Neymar] has provoked the envy of our rivals.”

Rosell will be replaced by his vice-president, Josep Maria Bartomeu, who will now have to see the club through the complaint filed, by one of their own supporters Jordi Casas, against the Barcelona board for the much-heralded transfer of Neymar from Santos to Barcelona last summer.

Rosell had always maintained that Barcelona paid €57m (£46.9m) for Neymar – €17.1m to his club Santos and €40m to a company owned by the player’s father called N&N.

But some supporters questioned why the club had paid such a large sum to the player’s father and when Casas asked Rosell to explain the €40m payment he was not given an answer.

He filed a complaint that Judge Pablo Ruz accepted on Wednesday, meaning there will now be a full investigation with further documentation requested and the club’s president possibly called to give evidence. That would now be Bartomeu instead of Rosell.

The original payment of €40m to N&N remains at the heart of the complaint, with Rosell accused of misappropriation of funds, an offence that can carry a prison sentence.

It was agreed in a contract signed with N&N in 2011 that Barcelona would purchase Neymar in 2014 when he was due to become a free agent.

Because the player arrived in 2013, when he was still not a free agent and part-owned by Santos, the €40m was paid as a penalty for breaking the agreement with N&N to sign the player this year. But if this penalty payment is not legally watertight it will remain a payment that cannot be accounted for and could be seen as a way of bolstering Neymar’s wages. The player receives €5m (£4.12m) net a year but if the €40m paid to N&N were counted as wages that figure would increase to €13m (£10.7m) a year.

That would be of great interest to tax authorities keen to take their 52 per cent of Neymar’s wages.

The case is made all the more complicated by third-party ownership. It is understood that as many as 12 contracts were exchanged as Neymar moved from Santos to Barça last June. Rosell has argued that only payments of €17.1m to Santos and €40m to N&N correspond to the Neymar transfer.

But Barcelona are also understood to have signed a €2.6m commission to Neymar’s father for the negotiation of his deal; a contract worth €2m for another Neymar-owned company to look for new talent in Brazil; a contract worth €4m to find new commercial partners for Barcelona in Brazil; and a payment of €2.5m to a Neymar foundation set up to help poor neighbourhoods in Sao Paulo.

Barcelona argue these contracts have nothing to do with buying Neymar but as it is money going from the club to a company owned by the player, again it could be interpreted as disguised wages.

Judge Ruz also wants to see the two agreements with  Santos: one to play two friendlies with Barcelona and another for preferential rights over three players that  total €16.9m.

Read more:
Barcelona's Neymar saga: You want to sign our son? That will be 40 million euros, please  
Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water