Barcelona - Lawyers for Brazilian footballer Neymar and Spanish champions Barcelona
were meeting Friday in a last-ditch effort to untangle a contract
dispute and avert a multi-million-dollar court battle.
world's most expensive footballer, quit Barcelona in 2017 and joined
Paris Saint-Germain in a stunning coup for the French club.
move angered the Spanish giants who filed a complaint for breach of
contract against the 27-year-old superstar who had pledged loyalty to
the Spanish club by signing a new deal just one year earlier.
arrived in Barcelona Thursday ahead of the court hearing set for 10:00
am Friday but was not seen with his lawyers for a pre-hearing
reconciliation meeting aimed at resolving the dispute without a court
"The reconciliation meeting was suspended and will resume
at 11:45 am with lawyers from both sides seeking a solution," a court
The dispute stems from Neymar's shock transfer to
PSG for a world record €222 million,
less than a year after signing a contract that would have kept him at
the Spanish club until 2021.
Barcelona filed suit and refused to pay him 26 million euros, which were part of his contract renewal bonus.
an unsuccessful appeal to world footballing body FIFA, the young
Brazilian quickly hit back with a lawsuit over the unpaid bonus.
'The taxman watching'
the full sum of the bonus has never been clear, Neymar received an
initial payout and was to have received the rest in instalments over the
course of his new contract.
The Spanish club 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 countersuit demanding payment of the €26 million with interest.
to El Mundo daily, the case is being closely watched by the Spanish tax
authorities who are keen to know whether Neymar, who was a tax resident
in 2017, paid his dues on both the bonus and his transfer to PSG.
in March, Neymar's public relations agency, NR Sports, admitted the tax
authorities had requested documents but insisted the player was not the
subject of a new tax investigation in Spain.
The young striker
has been beset by legal problems since his arrival in Europe in 2013
following his move to the Catalan club from Brazil's Santos.
valued the transfer at €57.1 million but Spanish prosecutors
believe the amount paid was at least €83.3 million, trigging a string of
legal cases in both countries, some of which remain unresolved.
And since transferring to PSG, things have not been any easier.
the last few months, the superstar who has a huge social media
following, found himself facing a rape allegation, which was dropped in
August, and an assault charge for hitting a fan after PSG's shock defeat
in April's French Cup final.