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The world’s most expensive football Neymar insists it wan ambition and not moved by the lure of riches that convinced him to swap La Liga giants Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain.
The Brazil international has put pen to paper on a five-year deal with the Les Parisians after his legal representatives paid Barca €222 million (£200.6million) to release him from his contract at the Nou Camp.
The 25-year-old, who won Champions League and two La Liga titles with Barca, will reportedly earn €30m (£27m) net per year with the Ligue 1 club, or close to €600,000 (£540,000) each week after tax.
But Neymar hailed as “the best player in the world” by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi at a press conference on Friday stressed his desire to help the French club achieve their dream of European glory was his guiding influence.
He said: “I wanted a new challenge. This was about ambition. My heart told me that it was time to sign for Paris Saint-Germain. It was the right time to leave Barcelona and find new challenges.
“I was never motivated by money. I thought above all else about of the happiness of my family, regardless of money. I regret that some people think this is the case.”
Among the challenges the Brazilian has signed up for at the Parc des Princes this season will be the club’s quest to reclaim the Ligue 1 title from Monaco, who in May denied the Parisians a fifth straight championship.
That mission starts at home to newly-promoted Amiens on Saturday afternoon and Neymar is keen to get started.
“I’m ready,” he told reporters. “If I can play tomorrow, why not?
“I will speak with the staff and wait for the green light, but this is what I love to do – play football.”
Neymar, when asked if he feels the load of becoming the most expensive player of all time, smashing Paul Pogba’s – 105m euro (£89m) – move to Manchester United last summer, he cracked a joke.
He said as quoted via Evening Standard: “It’s not an extra burden. I weigh 69kg, and I’ll remain at 69kg. “
According to PSG owner Al-Khelaifi, there was no change of opinion when it came to submitting a world-record bid for the Brazilian who excelled alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez – forming the ‘MSN’ strike force – for four years at Barcelona.
“For me Neymar is the best player in the world, so we wanted to have the best player in the world,” he said.
“Neymar came here to write new pages in the history of Paris Saint-Germain.
“With him our project will grow even stronger. The league will become more interesting for everyone.
“More transfers? The best player in the world is here. Let’s enjoy Neymar.”
When asked about the unprecedented transfer fee received by Barcelona, Al-Khelaifi added: “Today, it might seem expensive. But in two years’ time it might not anymore.
“We will make money together in the coming years as it is a two-brand project. For me it’s a fantastic transfer.
“Concerning Financial Fair Play, we have always been transparent.”