Barcelona forward Neymar is seeking legal and tax assurances before committing his long-term future to Barcelona. The 23-year-old, who joined the Catalan giants in the summer of 2013, has three more years on his current contract to run but is already in talks with his club regarding an extension.
And the Brazil captain’s father and agent, Neymar Sr, is prioritising certain issues to be resolved before his son commits his long-term future to Barcelona. Neymar has been under scrutiny from the taxmen ever since he landed in Spain, and most recently saw his assets frozen by a Brazilian court.
And Neymar Sr is trying to leave no stone unturned this time out, highlighting the difficulties the player has had to face during his time in Spain. “We’ve begun contract renewal talks, but there are outstanding issues that concern us, and which need to be resolved. Since we arrived to Spain we have been under attack (from the tax office) and it has extended to Brazil,” Neymar Sr was quoted as saying to Spanish radio station Cadena Ser by the Guardian.
“For the last two and a half years, we have had to defend ourselves from accusations.
“We will respect Neymar’s contract with Barça but regarding the contract extension, we need a deal that gives us peace of mind for Neymar, my companies and my family.”
Barcelona’s deal to sign Neymar from Santos was fraught with controversy regarding the transfer fee, and investigations by a Spanish court has seen the club fielding allegations of tax evasion which will see club president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell stand for trial.
Also in September, Neymar had his assets frozen by a Sao Paolo federal court for alleged tax evasions in the period between 2011 and 2013, when he was still a Santos player. These repeated ‘attacks’ by the tax authorities in both Spain and Brazil have made Neymar Sr consider the possibility of leaving the country.
“We are not thinking of leaving Spain but we have a problem. We’ve never experienced such major tax issues.
“I don’t want to use the word persecution, but if the working environment here is not good, we won’t be able to remain in Spain and will have to leave the country,” he added.
Neymar is one of the most coveted players in the world. His 43 goals last season helped the Blaugrana to their treble win, and he has carried his rich vein of form into the current season as well. Neymar is currently leading the scoring charts in La Liga with 11 goals.
However, with the cloud of uncertainty looming, Neymar and his entourage are keen to make sure off the pitch matters are taken care of in the terms of his new deal.
“We shouldn’t be having to put up with this uncertainty regarding our taxes and whether we are going about things in the right way. It’s not easy for us because we’re getting it from all sides, from both the Brazilian and the Spanish tax systems.
“We’re speaking with all of these parties to try to work out how we should deal with this issue, because what we don’t want is to still be in Spain two, three, four, five or 10 years down the line and to then receive a nasty surprise which would be unjust.
“We own the Neymar brand, which has been running as a business since 2006 from Brazil, and we need the peace of mind that comes from knowing that everything is in order.
“We need to do things properly, and ascertain whether in Spain we’ll be allowed to carry out our work,” said Neymar Sr.