The Catalans’ chief has suggested his tax evasion trial over the Brazilian’s move to Camp Nou is motivated by Blancos bitterness
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu has taunted Real Madrid by suggesting the club remain bitter that Neymar chose Camp Nou over the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Catalans beat the Blancos and the rest of the world in the race to sign the 23-year-old in May 2013 and he has gone on to become one of the world’s best players at the club.
The cost of Neymar has remained a contentious issue in Spain and Brazil, however, with Barca’s official figure of €57 million questioned – 20 months ago it was estimated he actually cost them €86.2m.
Bartomeu is currently awaiting trial amidst allegations of tax evasion and fraud regarding Neymar’s transfer from Santos and he has hinted that the charges are being motivated against him by an embittered Madrid.
“In Madrid they still don’t understand Neymar chose Barca and they are trying to create difficulties for the club and for him,” he told RAC1.
“Let’s see how the trial finishes, but I will never get tired of defending club and player interests.”
There had been rumours that Neymar was attracting transfer attention from Manchester United this summer, although the World Cup 2014 star ultimately rejected any possibility of departing the Liga club.
Bartomeu – who was re-elected as president in July – has reiterated his stance that he wants the Barca No.11 to retire at the club.
“We haven’t started negotations with Neymar for his renewal but he is a very important player to us and we hope he retires from football at Barcelona,” he added.
Neymar’s current deal at the Spanish club – who won the Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey last season – expires in June 2018.