PARIS: Neymar is expected to arrive in Paris on Thursday to finalise his world record 222 million euro ($260 million) move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, which will earn him around 30 million euros ($35.5 million) a year.
The summer´s longest-running transfer saga, which this week saw the 25-year-old tracked from the United States to China to the Middle East, back to Barcelona to say goodbye before a swift detour to Porto where he was thought to have undergone a medical, will end in the French capital with new teammates already queuing up to welcome him.
Argentine midfielder Javier Pastore is already set to surrender his symbolic number 10 shirt to his fellow South American at the Parc des Princes, where Neymar could be unveiled to fans on Saturday evening when PSG open their new Ligue 1 season against Amiens.
“I want him to feel comfortable and happy from day one,” Pastore told Cadena SER radio.
On Wednesday, Barcelona admitted defeat in convincing Neymar to stay at the Camp Nou where he has played since 2013.
The player travelled to Porto by private jet from Barcelona surrounded by his entourage, including his father and agent Neymar Sr, after saying goodbye to his Barca teammates.
Among that party was Wagner Ribeiro, an advisor to the player, who claimed PSG would pay his 222 million euro ($260 million) buyout clause in the “coming hours”.
That would more than double the current transfer record set by Paul Pogba´s 105.2 million euro ($111 million) move to Manchester United last year.
Media reports suggested that Neymar had gone to Porto, where PSG sporting director Antero Henrique had worked until recently, to undergo a pre-transfer medical.
Neymar has been tempted to Paris by an astronomical offer that would reportedly see his wages tripled to 30 million euros a year after tax.
However, on the field he also faces the challenge of stepping out of the shadow of five-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi to try and prove himself as the world´s best.
“It was a huge pleasure having shared all those years with you, my friend @neymarjr,” Messi posted on Instagram alongside a montage displaying some of the pair´s finest moments together.