Neymar is due to face trial in Spain in October just a month before the World Cup over alleged irregularities in his transfer to Barcelona nearly a decade ago, judicial sources said yesterday.
The Brazilian international, his parents and former Barcelona presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu will be tried for alleged corruption related to the forward’s move from Santos to Barcelona in 2013.
Rosell and Bartomeu will also face fraud charges in the trial which is scheduled to take place from October 17 to 31, a month before the World Cup gets under way in Qatar.
Neymar left Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 for a world-record 222 million euros, but it is his move from boyhood club Santos to Barca in 2013 which has caused controversy.
The case stems from a complaint by Brazilian group DIS, the former owner of a percentage of the player’s rights.
Barcelona officially said the transfer cost 57.1 million euros ($63.6 million), with 40 million euros going to Neymar’s family and 17.1 million to Santos, but Spanish prosecutors later said it actually cost at least 83.3 million euros.
All the defendants have denied any wrongdoing, but appeals by them to Spain’s high court have been rejected, forcing the case to go to trial.
DIS, which received 6.8 million of the 17.1 million euros paid to Santos, has alleged that Barca and Neymar joined forces to hide the real amount of the transfer.
Yesterday, DIS said it was “satisfied” that there is now a date for the trial of the case, which has been in the Spanish courts since 2016.