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BARCELONA | NEYMAR

Potential trouble at Barça: Neymar earns more than Messi

Potential trouble at Barça: Neymar earns more than Messi

YURIKO NAKAO

REUTERS

The Brazilian star was presented at the Camp Nou on Monday and since then no-one has talked of anything else.

The arrival of Neymar at the Camp Nou has destabilised the Barcelona dressing room, which has been stable since Pep Guardiola’s arrival. His presence in the media is out of all proportion to what he’s done on the pitch and the comparison is causing alarm: Neymar, for his cost, his wages and the club’s treatment of him, is one of the two principle players in the squad.

So, what position do Xavi, Iniesta or Cesc (who is rumoured to be returning to England) hold now in the hierarchy? Why did the club decide to break the wage limit set, firstly by Messi, and then Xavi and Iniesta? Neymar, 21 years old, earns more than them and that could provoke a storm amongst the other players. In other eras the club took more care of the hierarchical order of the squad.

There’s no doubt Barcelona would deny that Neymar earns seven million euros net a year, plus bonuses; below Messi’s 13 million or the midfielders’ 10. But nobody believes that the 40 million euros being paid to Neymar’s father isn’t really part of the player’s wages. 10 million were paid up front and the other 30 will be paid over the next five years, the same as the footballer’s contract.

Questions have been asked from a number of places, not just the Bernabéu, as to how Neymar cost only 57 million euros, as Barcelona vicepresident Josep María Bartomeu said last Monday during the presentation of the player. Some say it was really 57 million, plus the 10-million upfront payment. And that next year there will be another 40 million, the amount payable to Neymar’s father, which is, in truth, a disguised salary to the star.

Nobody in the entire history of Barcelona has earned so much so young as Neymar is going to do: not Messi, or any other of the ‘blaugrana’ stars. The Argentinean renewed his deal four months ago (the sixth time in recent years), but Barcelona will have a difficult job justifying how Neymar earns more than him. Sando Rosell is holding a ticking bomb. One thing is that the Brazilian has arrived at the club knowing, as he admitted, that “Messi is the boss”, and that he is either an alternative or assistant to the diminutive Argentinean up front, another thing is that he’s earning more than Leo.

Just as with Cristiano at Madrid, it’s not a question of cash, but rather of the hierarchy in the dressing room and the fact the club is seen to be taking care of things. It’s up to Rosell now to show the heavyweights at the club that they are as appreciated as Neymar. It’s yet to be seen how the new sporting project will be at the Camp Nou.

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