Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) new recruit Neymar said he did opposite to what his father, who is also his agent, wanted and moved away from FC Barcelona.
PSG ended weeks of speculation by paying Barcelona the 222 million-euro ($264 million) release fee written into Neymar’s contract with the Catalan club.
The 25-year-old will be officially presented to Paris Saint-Germain’s fans at Estadio Parc des Princes on Saturday.
The Brazilian will wear the No.10 shirt for the Ligue 1 outfit after Argentinian play maker Javier Pastore volunteered to relinquish the number for his new teammate.
“I did the opposite of what my dad wanted,” the Brazilian said in a farewell video that he uploaded.
“The life of a sportsman moves through challenges, some to do with taxes, others are the result of our decisions.”
“Barcelona has been more than a challenge, playing alongside great players has been like a video game. I remember my first days in the club, sharing the dressing room with idols like Messi, Valdes, Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Pique, Busquets and others, with the expectation of playing for more than a club,” Neymar recollected as reported by Marca.
“FC Barcelona is a nation that represents Catalonia! I had the honour of playing with the greatest athlete I have ever seen and I am sure that I will not see another better. Leo Messi became my partner, and friend on and off the pitch and I was proud to play with him.”
“I formed an historic attack with him and Luis Suarez and I have conquered everything an athlete can conquer. I have lived unforgettable moments! I lived in a city that is more than a city, it is a homeland. I love Barcelona and Catalunya,” the Brazilian added.
Neymar said he wanted fresh challenges and thus chose to jump ship.
“But an athlete needs challenges — and for the second time in my life I will do the opposite of my dad,” he said.
“Papa, I understand and respect your opinion, but my decision is taken, I ask you to support me as you have always done.”
“FC Barcelona and Catalonia will always be in my heart but I need new challenges. I have accepted the proposal of PSG and I want to help the club to achieve the titles that the fans hope for. It’s a daring career plan and I am prepared for this challenge,” he added.
Since joining Barca in 2013, Neymar scored 68 goals in four seasons — behind Cristiano Ronaldo (139), Lionel Messi (134), Luis Suarez (85), Antoine Griezmann (76) and Athletic Bilbao’s Aritz Aduriz (70).
In that same period, he had the fifth most direct assists with 38 — behind teammate Messi (54), Atletico Madrid’s Koke (45), Suarez (43) and Ronaldo (42).