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Neymar eighth most expensive

05 June 2013, 12:20

Barcelona - Neymar became the eighth most expensive signing in football history by moving to Barcelona in a deal worth €57m (R740m) on Monday, uniting the Brazil star with Lionel Messi in a formidable attacking partnership.

VIDEO: Barcelona unveil Neymar

Neymar signed a five-year contract with club president Sandro Rosell after choosing Barcelona over Real Madrid in an intense two-year bidding war between the fierce Spanish rivals.

Barca vice-president Josep Bartomeu revealed the club had expected to pay about €40m, but that "the interference of other clubs" inflated the price, an allusion to Madrid.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Kaka, Luis Figo, Hulk and Fernando Torres have cost a club more than Neymar.

Barcelona's previous most expensive transfer was when they paid €45m to Inter Milan for Ibrahimovic in 2009 plus sent striker Samuel Eto'o the other way.

Neymar, whose contract includes a buyout clause worth €190m, laughed shyly when asked if he was worth the price paid for him.

"No, but I am very grateful that Barcelona did what it had to do (to) complete my childhood (dream), to be with my idols," he said.

After signing his contract, the 21-year-old striker jogged on to the Nou Camp pitch for the first time in his new Barcelona kit bearing the name "Neymar Jr" on the back.

"I am very happy, very moved to be a Barcelona player and fulfill my dream," Neymar told the 56 500 fans who turned out to welcome him.

Neymar quickly made it clear that he knows that he will have to play second fiddle to Messi.

"I want to help the team," he said. "I have come to add my part so that Lionel Messi continues to be the best player in the world."

Neymar's flight from Brazil arrived an hour behind schedule, at about 13:00 local time. Decked out in black with sunglasses and a baseball cap, he took a chartered bus straight to the Nou Camp and had his first photograph taken in front of the blue and burgundy club insignia.

During the traditional thumbs-up welcome shoot Neymar stepped forward and waved over the mob of photographers to the hundreds of fans who had gathered wearing Brazil and Barcelona jerseys and chanting his name.

He was then rushed through two medical tests and back to the office to sign the deal.

Neymar later told a packed press hall that he had "followed his heart" when he opted to come to Barcelona. 

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- AP


WRAP: English Premiership

21 October 2016, 19:13

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