Barcelona lawyer Josep Vives told journalists outside the court after the closed-door reconciliation talks had collapsed that ”It is going to court,” The statement was made after lawyers for Brazilian footballer Neymar and Spanish champions Barcelona failed Friday in their effort to avert a multi-million-dollar court battle over a tangled contract dispute.
A court official told journalists that the hearing which is open to the public would begin later on Friday. The matter in contest revolves around a decision by Neymar, the world’s most expensive footballer, quitting Barcelona in 2017 and joining Paris Saint-Germain in a stunning coup for PSG.
The move angered Barcelona who sued for breach of contract against Neymar who had pledged loyalty to Barcelona by signing a new contract one year earlier.
Neymar arrived in Barcelona Thursday ahead of the hearing which was set for 10:00 am (0800 GMT) Friday but his lawyers later said he was not at court.
Neymar’s sudden move to PSG for a world record 222 million euros ($250 million at the time) happened less than a year after he signed the contract that would have kept him at Barcelona until 2021.
Just like filing a lawsuit, Barcelona refused to pay him 26 million euros, which is supposed to be part of his contract renewal bonus. Neymar quickly hit back with a lawsuit demanding payment of the bonus in full.
Meanwhile the full amount of the bonus has never been mentioned clearly, the Brazilian football star received an initial payout and was to have received the rest in installments over the course of his new contract.
Now, Barcelona is demanding he return the part of the loyalty bonus already received as well as 8.5 million euros plus interest in compensation for breach of contract. Neymar promptly filed a counter suit requesting payment of the 26 million euros with interest.
According to El Mundo daily, the case is being closely followed by the Spanish tax authorities who are digging to know whether Neymar, who was a tax resident in 2017, paid his tax on both bonuses and his transfer to PSG.