Neymar

Charges against Barcelona president dropped in Neymar affair

+ Madrid (AFP) / Fecha: 09.26.2014, 17:59 hs / Tags: ESP, Liga, BRA, justice, Barcelona, Neymar, fraud

Barcelona's football club president Josep Maria Bartomeu holds a press conference in Barcelona on April 3, 2014 at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona

Prosecutors in Spain have dropped charges against Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu over alleged tax irregularities concerning the signing of Brazil star Neymar, according to a judgement made public on Friday.

The magistrate investigating the case in Madrid agreed with the decision of the public prosecutor to drop charges against Bartomeu and the club's vice-president Javier Faus, who looks after the club's finances.

Barcelona initially said that the signing of Neymar had cost them 57.1 million euros ($72.5m, £44.6m).

However, one of Barcelona's own members, or 'socios', Jordi Cases, accused the club's former president Sandro Rosell of misappropriation for not declaring publicly that 40 million of the figure quoted by Barca was paid to N&N, a company controlled by Neymar's parents.

Judge Pablo Ruz widened his investigation earlier this year when he decided that there was "sufficient evidence to investigate a possible crime against the public treasury".

Barcelona and Rosell, who stepped down in January, were accused of irregularities in the deal, which was worth a total figure of just over 86 million euros.

But on Friday the judge concluded that there was no reason to pursue charges against Bartomeu and Faus, former right-hand men of Rosell under the previous presidency and who signed certain incriminating documents.

Ruz ruled there was not enough evidence to suggest that the two had "actively participated in the facts under investigation".

Prosecutor Jose Perals said that, in the case of the alleged tax crimes, responsibility falls to the club as a whole and Rosell, as he was president at the time.

The Barcelona board have been rattled for several months by the investigation into the signing of Neymar in the spring of 2013 and the father of the Brazilian star is still due to appear as a witness on October 1 as part of the case.

Bartomeu tried to calm the controversy after taking over as president by disclosing the exact figures of the transfer, which was valued at 86.2 million euros, and paying 13.5 million euros to the public purse.

Rosell, who gave evidence for several hours on July 22, insisted before the judge that the transfer was carried out legally, affirming that "the contracts were perfectly drawn up".

Who needs PlayStation when you have Messi, says Barca coach

+ Madrid (AFP) / Fecha: 09.14.2014, 01:23 hs / Tags: ESP, Liga, Barcelona, Enrique, Messi, Neymar

Barcelona's Lionel Messi (L) fights for the ball with Athletic Bilbao's Mikel Balenziaga (R) during their Spanish La Liga match, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on September 13, 2014

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique hailed four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi as capable of things impossible even on computer game PlayStation after he set up Neymar twice in his side's 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Messi has looked back to his best after a disappointing end to last season, scoring twice and providing three assists as Barca have propelled themselves to the top of La Liga with three wins from their opening three games.

"It is evident that he is best in the world in any attacking aspect," he said.

"This version of Messi helps us a lot because he is a game changer. He does things in training that you can't imagine, things I haven't even seen on the PlayStation.

"We are used to it now but it is a joy and a privilege to have the best player in the world in your team without a doubt."

And despite netting his first two goals of the season, Neymar was also quick to praise the part played by Messi in both goals.

"Messi is the best in the world. He is a star and I am improving with him," the Brazilian told Canal Plus.

"I am very happy with the game today. It went perfectly with the two goals."

Neymar had been left out of the starting line-up after his exertions in captaining his country for the first time in wins over Colombia and Ecuador in the past week, but made the difference in a tight contest when he slotted home from Messi's through ball 11 minutes from time.

And the two combined once more five minutes later as this time Messi breezed past three Athletic defenders before cutting the ball back for Neymar to side-foot home.

It is not just going forward that the Catalans have impressed at the start of Enrique's reign as they have also started the league season with three consecutive clean sheets for the first time in 20 years.

"I think against a team like Athletic it highlighted how little we restricted them to," added Enrique.

"That means that we have pressed high and defended well. To do that you have to be solid and know what you are doing.

"It seems that we aren't quite being clinical enough, but we have players like Neymar and Sandro who have come off the bench fresh in the last two games and have the ability to score goals."

Barca welcome back Neymar, lose Iniesta

+ Madrid (AFP) / Fecha: 08.30.2014, 12:45 hs / Tags: ESP, Liga, Barcelona, Neymar, Iniesta

Barcelona forward Neymar (L) pictured just before scoring past Leon's goalkeeper William Yarbrough during the 49th Joan Gamper Trophy match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 18, 2014

Brazilian star Neymar will make his first appearance of the season when Barcelona travel to face Villarreal on Sunday, but the Catalans will have to do without the injured Andres Iniesta.

Neymar missed Barca's opening day 3-0 over Elche last weekend due to a sprained ankle, having only just recovered from the broken vertebra in his back which prematurely ended his World Cup.

Iniesta, though, has been sidelined by a knee injury.

"He had a problem in his knee that was getting worse and hasn't allowed him to play," said Barca boss Luis Enrique on Saturday.

"Neymar is in the squad because he is ready to play. Winning a place in the team is difficult, but the key for the season is not just to have 11 players, but that we win with everyone."

The performance of 18-year-old Munir El Haddadi on debut against Elche may mean Nemyar will start only from the bench at El Madrigal.

Munir's fine week was rounded off by a first call-up to the Spanish under-21 squad on Friday, but Enrique insists he hasn't made any plans to protect his protégé during his rapid rise to prominence.

"We haven't done any special work to protect him. He ought to attack everything at the moment calmly. What he is doing at the moment other players will do throughout the course of the season.

"It is great that all the players gain confidence and have minutes on the pitch. Taking decisions is the most important thing for a coach, but you can't always keep everyone in the team happy."

Barcelona say Neymar suffers ankle sprain

+ Barcelona (AFP) / Fecha: 08.22.2014, 09:58 hs / Tags: ESP, Liga, Barcelona, Neymar

Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar celebrates his goal during the 49th Joan Gamper Trophy match against Leon Club at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on August 18, 2014

Brazilian superstar Neymar has suffered an ankle sprain in training, Barcelona announced Friday, adding to the club's injury woes just two days before opening their new La Liga campaign.

Neymar complained of pain in his left ankle at the end of Thursday's training session and tests confirmed he had suffered a mild sprain, Barcelona reported as they prepared to face Elche at home on Sunday.

"His return to training will depend on the development of the injury," the club said in a statement.

The Brazilian had looked to be in fine form Monday when he scored two of Barcelona's goals in their 6-0 destruction of Mexican side Club Leon in a friendly.

Neymar's new injury comes just four days after he had received the all-clear to play for the first time since suffering a broken vertebra in his back during the World Cup.

The 22-year-old missed out on his country's disastrous 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany on home soil after suffering the injury when he was clattered by Juan Camilo Zuniga towards the end of Brazil's 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia.

However, the injury could have been much worse as Neymar revealed that had the impact of Zuniga's knee on his back been slightly higher he could have been left paralysed.

Barcelona's new signings Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Thomas Vermaelen are also both sidelined by injury, while Luis Suarez continues his four-month ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup.

Neymar set to feature in Suarez Barca debut

+ Madrid (AFP) / Fecha: 08.18.2014, 10:37 hs / Tags: ESP, Liga, Neymar

Barcelona's Brazilian forward Neymar takes part in a training session in Sant Joan Despi, near Barcelona, on August 15, 2014

Brazilian striker Neymar has been given the all clear to play his first game since suffering a broken vertebra in his back during the World Cup when Barcelona play Mexican side Club Leon on Monday.

The 22-year-old could get his first experience of playing alongside new teammate Luis Suarez as the Uruguayan is expected to make his Barca debut after being cleared to play in friendly matches last week by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, despite serving a four-month ban from competitive games.

Neymar missed out on his country's ultimately disastrous 7-1 semi-final defeat to Germany on home soil after suffering the injury when he was clattered by Juan Camilo Zuniga towards the end of Brazil's 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia.

However, the injury could have been much worse as Neymar revealed that had the impact of Zuniga's knee on his back been centimetres higher he could have been left paralysed.

Lionel Messi is also likely to get his first outing since his Argentina side lost the World Cup final to Germany on Monday as Barca finalise their pre-season build up to the start of the La Liga campaign when they host Elche on Sunday.

Brazil pin-up Neymar mobbed in Japan

+ Tokyo (AFP) / Fecha: 07.31.2014, 11:56 hs / Tags: JPN, Neymar, BRA

Brazilian football star Neymar waves to photographers during an event in Tokyo, on July 31, 2014

Tokyo caught "Neymar fever" on Thursday when the Brazilian superstar jetted into the Japanese capital sporting sunglasses, baseball cap and designer stubble on a whistle-stop visit to sign a sponsorship deal with a bed manufacturer.

The 22-year-old Barcelona forward, still recovering after fracturing a vertebra at the World Cup, was greeted by 700 screaming fans at Tokyo's Haneda airport before being whisked off to a television studio, which rolled out a red carpet for his arrival as if for royalty.

"My back is getting better and I'm hoping to join up with my team-mates as soon as possible," Neymar told reporters later as he perched on a foam mattress the makers claimed had secret relaxation properties.

"I have to make sure I continue the rehab and get my back fixed properly so I can be at 100 percent. I'm really looking forward to next season," he added.

Neymar will form part of arguably the world's most fearsome strike-force alongside Lionel Messi and new Barca signing Luis Suarez.

"It's always been my dream to play in Europe and win as many titles as possible. I'm not striving to be the world's greatest player -- just the best player I can be in order to help Brazil."

Dressed in black with his cap on back-to-front and wearing a chunky gold chain, Neymar appeared on Japan's Fuji TV, triggering bedlam in the studio as guests and audience members in replica Brazil jerseys lined up to have their shirts signed.

The Brazilian pin-up, still wearing a protective corset for his injury, looked sheepish when asked if he liked Japanese women, replying diplomatically: "Japanese ladies are very pretty. But I'm Brazilian so I think I prefer Brazilian girls."

Once he had left and order had been restored to the studio, several Neymar "lookalikes" were wheeled out -- including a farmer, a roofer and a noodle chef.

Neymar carried the hopes of host nation Brazil on his shoulders at the World Cup but his involvement ended in tears as he suffered his injury in the 2-1 quarter-final win over Colombia, pictures of him being airlifted to hospital by helicopter sending the country into shock.

Without their talisman, who had scored four goals in the tournament, Brazil suffered their most humiliating defeat ever when they were pulverised 7-1 by eventual champions Germany in the semi-final.

The world's top athletes often criss-cross the globe for lucrative endorsements in Japan. Real Madrid heart-throb Cristiano Ronaldo recently visited to plug a facial muscle trainer, while former England captain David Beckham still enjoys huge marketing power in the country.

Spain court summons Neymar father in tax fraud probe

+ Madrid (AFP) / Fecha: 07.30.2014, 18:33 hs / Tags: ESP, fraud, Barcelona, Neymar, court

FC Barcelona's Brazilian player Neymar (R) poses with Barcelona's President Sandro Rosell at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, on June 3, 2013

Brazilian striker Neymar's father will have to appear in court as a witness as part of a probe into possible tax crimes over Barcelona's 86-million-euro ($117 million) signing of the player, a Spanish court ruled Wednesday.

Judge Pablo Ruz of the National Court issued a written summons for Neymar da Silva Santos Sr and Barcelona financial director Nestor Almela to appear on October 1.

The judge also asked Neymar's father to hand over contracts and documents relating to his son's signing with Barcelona last year.

The judge is looking into allegations that Spanish tax authorities lost out on up to 11.8 million euros ($15.8m) in total related to Neymar's deal with Barcelona.

A tax office report cited by the judge listed lost revenues of 2.4 million euros in 2011; 6.8 million euros in 2013 and as much as 2.6 million euros in 2014.

The Neymar transfer case was started by one of Barca's own members, Jordi Cases.

He accused former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell of misappropriation for not declaring publicly that 40 million of the 57.1 million figure initially quoted by Barca was paid to N&N, a company controlled by the player's parents.

Rosell resigned from Barcelona in January.

The club then revealed that the entire cost of the operation including Neymar's signing bonus, commissions, marketing deals, a donation to the player's foundation and other agreements totalled 86.2 million euros -- far above the 57 million euros first announced by Barcelona.

As a result Barcelona were then indicted for alleged tax fraud linked to the signing.

Rosell defended the legality of Neymar's contract during questioning as tax crime suspect in the case at the court last week.

Barcelona managing director Antoni Rossich also argued before the court that Neymar's contracts respected the law.

Neymar's brain on auto-pilot - Japan neurologists

+ Tokyo (AFP) / Fecha: 07.25.2014, 07:33 hs / Tags: Japan, Brazil, neurology, science, Neymar

Neurological research suggests Brazil's Neymar, shown here in Brasilia on July 12, 2014, plays as if he is on auto-pilot

Brazilian superstar Neymar's brain activity while dancing past opponents is less than 10 percent the level of amateur players, suggesting he plays as if on auto-pilot, according to Japanese neurologists.

Results of brain scans conducted on Neymar in February this year indicated minimal cerebral function when he rotated his ankle and point to the Barcelona striker's wizardry being uncannily natural.

"From MRI images we discovered Neymar's brain activity to be less than 10 percent of an amateur player," researcher Eiichi Naito told AFP on Friday.

"It is possible genetics is a factor, aided by the type of training he does."

The findings were published in the Swiss journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience following a series of motor skills tests carried out on the 22-year-old Neymar and several other athletes in Barcelona in February this year.

Three Spanish second-division footballers and two top-level swimmers were also subjected to the same tests, added Naito of Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology.

Naito concluded in his paper that the test results "provide valuable evidence that the football brain of Neymar recruits very limited neural resources in the motor-cortical foot regions during foot movements".

Asked whether Neymar's Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi or Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo might display similar test results, Naito said: "It is fair to assume they would show similar levels given their footwork and technique."

Naito told Japan's Mainichi Shimbun newspaper: "Reduced brain activity means less burden which allows (the player) to perform many complex movements at once. We believe this gives him the ability to execute his various shimmies."

Neymar carried the hopes of host nation Brazil on his shoulders at the recently ended World Cup but his involvement ended in tears as he fractured a vertebra in the 2-1 quarter-final victory over Colombia.

Without their talisman, who had scored four goals in the tournament, Brazil suffered their most humiliating defeat ever when they were pulverised 7-1 by eventual champions Germany in the semi-final.

Ex-Barca boss defends Neymar contract in court

+ Madrid (AFP) / Fecha: 07.22.2014, 11:20 hs / Actualizado: 07.22.2014, 17:31 hs / Tags: ESP, fraud, Barcelona, Neymar, Rosell

Former President of Barcelona Sandro Rosell smiles as he arrives at Madrid's National Court on July 22, 2014

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell defended Tuesday the legality of Brazilian striker Neymar's contract during questioning by a Spanish court which is investigating possible tax crimes.

Rosell told Madrid's National Court, Spain's top criminal court, that all contracts related to Neymar's 86-million-euro ($117 million) signing last year "were done perfectly" and respected the law, a judicial source said.

Investigating judge Pablo Ruz in June issued a summons for Rosell and the football club, through its legal representatives, to appear in court as tax crime suspects over the Neymar deal.

The Spanish taxman lost out on up to 11.8 million euros in total, according to the summons.

A tax office report cited by the judge listed lost revenues of 2.4 million euros in 2011; 6.8 million euros in 2013 and as much as 2.6 million euros in 2014.

Rosell resigned from Barcelona in January as he faced legal action accusing him of misappropriation of funds for not disclosing the destination of all the money spent on bringing the 22-year-old Brazilian forward to the club last summer.

The club then revealed that the entire cost of the operation including Neymar's signing bonus, commissions, marketing deals, a donation to the player's foundation and other agreements totalled 86.2 million euros -- far above the 57 million euros first announced by Barcelona.

As a result Barcelona were then indicted for alleged tax fraud linked to the signing.

The Catalan giants made a voluntary tax payment of 13.5 million euros in February over the signing to avoid the club's name being tarnished.

During his court appearance on Tuesday Rosell said he "did not read all the small letters" of the Neymar contracts when the player was signed but after being summoned by the judge he reviewed all their terms and concluded they were legal.

Barcelona managing director Antoni Rossich also argued before the court on Tuesday that Neymar's contracts respected the law.

The club said in a statement after the court hearing that it had to act "with extra prudence and confidentiality" during Neymar's signing due to the "exceptional interest of other clubs in the player".

"Barcelona trusts and expects that these statement sin court will make it clear that it acted correctly at all time," the statement added.

In April, the Spanish league said it believed there was nothing irregular about the Neymar signing.

The Neymar transfer case was started by one of Barca's own club members, Jordi Cases.

He accused Rosell of misappropriation for not declaring publicly that 40 million of the 57.1 million figure initially quoted by Barca was paid to N&N, a company controlled by the player's parents.

Court quizzes former Barca boss over Neymar case

+ Madrid (AFP) / Fecha: 07.22.2014, 11:20 hs / Tags: ESP, fraud, Barcelona, Neymar, Rosell

Former President of Barcelona Sandro Rosell smiles as he arrives at Madrid's National Court on July 22, 2014

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell was questioned in a Spanish court on Monday over the 86-million-euro ($117 million) signing of Brazilian striker Neymar.

Rosell did not speak to journalists as he arrived at the Madrid headquarters of the National Court, Spain's top criminal court, to be questioned by investigating judge Pablo Ruz.

The judge in June issued a summons for Rosell and the football club, through its legal representatives, to appear in court as tax crime suspects over the Neymar deal.

The Spanish taxman lost out on up to 11.8 million euros in total, according the the summons.

A tax office report cited by the judge listed lost revenues of 2.4 million euros in 2011; 6.8 million euros in 2013 and as much as 2.6 million euros in 2014.

Rosell resigned from Barcelona in January as he faced legal action accusing him of misappropriation of funds for not disclosing the destination of all the money spent on bringing the 22-year-old Brazilian forward to the club last summer.

Subsequently, the club revealed all the figures and clauses involved in the deal, which totalled 86.2 million euros, far above the 57-million-euro price tag the club originally announced.

As a result Barcelona were then indicted for alleged tax fraud linked to the signing.

The Catalan giants made a voluntary tax payment of 13.5 million euros in February over the signing to avoid the club's name being tarnished.

But Barcelona have protested their innocence and say they are confident of getting that money back.

In April, the Spanish league said it believed there was nothing irregular about the Neymar signing.

The Neymar transfer case was started by one of Barca's own club members, Jordi Cases.

He accused Rosell of misappropriation for not declaring publicly that 40 million of the 57.1 million figure initially quoted by Barca was paid to N&N, a company controlled by the player's parents.

Following Rosell's resignation, the club revealed the entire cost of the operation including Neymar's signing bonus, commissions, marketing deals, a donation to the player's foundation and other agreements.