Tuesday Kickoff: Neymar completes move to Barcelona; Crystal Palace return to the Premier League; and more

Neymar of Brazil spins away from Glen Johnson of England

By DAN KARELL

After years of promises to leave Brazil after the 2014 World Cup, Neymar has changed his mind and will be heading to Europe a year earlier than expected.

The Santos FC forward inked a five-year contract with Spain giants FC Barcelona on Monday, two days after officially deciding that the Catalan coastal city would be his next destination. Neymar played in his final match for Santos on Sunday, playing Flamengo to a scoreless draw.

The reported $38.7 million dollar transfer ends a nearly four-year race to sign the 21-year-old Brazilian international by many of the world’s biggest clubs, with Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and eventual winners Barcelona competing at the end for Neymar’s signature.

Neymar’s rise to prominence truly began in 2010, his second season as a professional with Santos. Still just 18 years of age at the time, Neymar led his side to a Paulista state championship and a Brazilian cup title, the first of his many accomplishments, including two more state titles and a Copa Libertadores crown in 2011. In addition, Neymar racked up an impressive 138 goals in 230 matches at Santos, the most goals at the club since Pelé retired in 1977.

Neymar will join up with the Brazil squad on Tuesday for a training camp ahead of two friendlies against England and France before hosting the Confederations Cup from June 15-30. Following the tournament, Neymar will join Barcelona ahead of their 2013-2014 La Liga campaign.

Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:

CRYSTAL PALACE RETURNS TO PREMIER LEAGUE

In the world’s richest game, Crystal Palace defeated Watford, 1-0 after extra time, in the Championship playoff finals to earn a place in next season’s English Premier League.

Palace forward Kevin Phillips, 39-years-old, scored the game’s only goal in the 105th minute from the penalty spot, after Manchester United signing Wilfried Zaha was taken down in the box.

The win for Palace was worth more than $181 million according to reports, based on the television revenue, sponsorships, and other marketing advantages of being in England’s top league. It’s the fourth time that Palace has been promoted into the Premier League, though they had extended stays in the old First Division in the early 1970′s and 1990′s.

Ian Holloway’s side now will return to the Premier League for the first time since 2004-2005.

FALCAO PASSES MEDICAL, WILL SIGN AT MONACO

With the dust finally settling, promoted Ligue 2 side AS Monaco is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with next season.

Atletico Madrid forward Radamel Falcao Garcia spent the day in Monaco, taking a physical ahead of a $77.5 million dollar move to the club, according to reports out of Spain. Falcao is believed to be signing a five-year contract with the French league club, earning upwards of $13 million per season after taxes. The contract does reportedly have a clause that would allow Falcao to leave at a lower price next summer.

Long-believed to be a target for city rivals Real Madrid, Barcelona, or even more recently in the prior few months Chelsea and Manchester City in England, it’s the Russian backed ownership of AS Monaco that has secured their third major signing in a week. AS Monaco last Friday signed FC Porto midfielders James Rodriguez and Joao Moutinho for a combined $90.5 million.

If not for two men named Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo also playing in Spain, Falcao might have been the most sought-out forward in the world. In two seasons at Atletico, the Colombian international scored an incredible 52 goals in 67 La Liga matches.

BENITEZ TAKES CHARGE OF NAPOLI

Just days after guiding Chelsea to a Europa League title and a third-place finish in the English Premier League, Rafael Benitez waved goodbye to his tumultuous time in London to take the open managerial position at S.S.C. Napoli.

Napoli’s President Aurelio de Laurentiis confirmed the hire on Monday, sending out a picture on Twitter of the de Laurentiis shaking hands with Benitez. The club later confirmed the news on their website, reportedly signing the 53-year-old boss on a two-year-contract.

The Spanish manager takes over a side that finished second in Italy and will be in the Champions League, though there are doubts as to whether star forward Edinson Cavani will remain at the club through next season. With the recent Europa League title, Benitez has now won ten trophies in his during his career, starting with Valencia, Liverpool, Inter Milan, and Chelsea.

Benitez will make a quick return to London in early August to take part in Arsenal’s Emirates Cup.

QUICK KICKS

The FA named their final squad for the upcoming U20 World Cup in Turkey (REPORT)

Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has resigned from his position at the club, with his next destination likely to be Goodison Park. (REPORT)

Greek central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos has signed a five-year contract at Borussia Dortmund, replacing Felipe Santana who left for FC Schalke. (REPORT)

Argentine goalkeeper Pablo Migliore, recently released from prison, is set to join Dynamo Zagreb in Croatia. (REPORT)

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet has been linked with the open managerial position at Israel champions Maccabi Tel Aviv. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Glad the Neymar transfer-saga is done? Do you see him playing well alongside Messi? Do you see Palace staying up next season? Do you like the Falcao move to Monaco?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Neymar completes move to Barcelona; Crystal Palace return to the Premier League; and more

  1. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Falcao is worth $77.5M and Neymar $38.7M? With Neymar being younger, I’m surprised he’s “worth” half what Falcao is. Anyone else?

    • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

      Just saw this. Good for you Klinsi:
      “Falcao is considered by many experts to be the ‘deadliest’ striker in the world and among the best,having surpassed Jürgen Klinsmann’s record of 15 goals (17) in a single annual international club football European competition UEFA Champions League/UEFA Europa League campaign.”

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Specifically his was in UEFA Cup. At that time it was knockout round after round.

    • Brett says:

      Neymar is a talented winger/attacking midfielder but Falcao is a complete forward. Size, pace, skill, vision, poise… He’s got it all. He’s in reality what the English media have fooled the world into thinking Wayne Rooney is.

      • Sly says:

        A better comparison would be Lewandowski but with Ribery’s touch.

      • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

        Thanks, Brett. That help. It’s just funny as everything I read puts so much “value” on the $/Age relationship that while Falcao is all those things you mention, I had to ask: is he, at 8 years older then Neymar, worth almost double?

    • jon says:

      Not surprised at all. Falcao’s proven himself on the highest stages, and you know exactly what you’re paying for: a lot of goals and a lot of style. Neymar lit it up in Brazil, but will he produce at barca? who knows

    • wides says:

      I was surprised by this as well, but then I read somewhere else that the transfer agreement also included a couple friendlies between Barcelona and Santos. So that has to up the ante quite a bit, maybe 10-20 million depending on which stadium they hold it in and what kind of TV deal they can get.

      Also, I think Monaco is just like Man City in that they will have to pay an extra premium on top of what players are actually worth, just because everyone knows they have a TON of money and that’s the only way they will get to the top.

      Still surprised by the disparity though. I’m unaware of the contract statuses of either player though. But if Falcao had more years on his deal, then that drives the price higher as well.

    • Travis says:

      Falcao has proven his worth by scoring lots and lots of goals in one of Europe’s biggest leagues after dominating in Portugal. For all the hype and promise that Neymar has nobody knows exactly how he will react to Europe, the Brazilian league isn’t exactly difficult for attackers. Still a lot to give up for Falcao though given his age.

    • Leo says:

      I think there are a few components to this.

      1) From all accounts, there were some pretty hefty bids coming in for Neymar. 100 to 120 million Euros were on the table from Madrid; whether this was a serious offer, or they just wanted to draw attention to the fact that Neymar would be moving for a cut rate price to Barca, who can say…allegedly, Neymar has had an agreement with Barca for quite some time, even to the point that a Barcelona representative was staying in a villa belonging to Neymar while the bids were still coming in.

      2) Santos was forced to deal Neymar. He was six months from signing a pre-contract with whomever he wished, he and his father would’ve pocketed all of the cash for his fee. Santos and the two other parties that represented Neymar’s rights would’ve been left out in the cold. His rights were divided up 55% Santos – 45% two other parties because this was the only way Santos could afford his salary.

      3) As much talent as he has, he’s still unproven on the continent. With his skill and talent, it’s natural to assume that his transition will be nothing to speak of, but there’s still the matter of whether or not he’ll be able to integrate into the team/the league/etc. I think his transfer value reflects a sane valuation, even if it looks like a steal to everyone else.

  2. Brett says:

    I hate that Barcelona’s wealth makes me dislike a team that plays such beautiful football, but I really can’t stand the landscape of top flight football in Europe. It’s like the only way for a new team to compete is for a foreign investor to just funnel money into a club no one used to care about.

    • Sly says:

      Or be like Dortmund/Ajax and build from the bottom up through youth sell where you have to but always have someone in the pipeline ready to take their spot. Buy smart then challenge for the Champions league and the League and Leauge Cup a few years after almost going bankrupt.

    • DC Josh says:

      +1 but I also agree with Sly below.

      Also, Barcelona have produced most of their squad. Their three best players came from their academy: Messi, Xavi, Iniesta. Yes, they buy too, but I would not lump them in with PSG, Man City, or Real Madrid, who pay exorbitant amounts of cash for their entire squad.

      • Travis says:

        True to an extent but the way that they unsettle players at other clubs during a transfer saga is crap. The whole Cesc saga at Arsenal was an embarrassment, that isn’t how you should be doing business

        • Edwin in LA says:

          Cesc was bought for like 400K and sold for like 30 million….Arsenal are fine lol And Cesc was Barcelona’s little obsession….for some reason Pique, Xavi and Iniesta REALLY wanted to play with their former friend from youth, especially Pique who apparently along with Cesc and Messi ran rampant on their youth teams around the world…

          That is hardly enough to say “they unsettle playerS at other clubS” one guy really? Who else have they unsettle? And is no different from what other teams do, they just did it for a long time until Arsenal gave in…

        • Leo says:

          Not excusing the behavior, but playing devil’s advocate, Cesc was a product of La Masia and is from Barcelona. I’m not down with all the “Barcelona DNA” stuff that was being bandied around, but I guess if they would ever throw a hissy fit over a player, I could see how it would be Fabregas.

  3. Micah says:

    Falcao experience is what makes him more than Neymar. But Neymar will be worth a lot in the future if he is worth more than C Ronaldo was ever worth that would be interesting.

  4. Old School says:

    Any idea what network the Confederations Cup will be on? I know it was ESPN in years past…I missed the memo on who will be carrying it this time around.

  5. fischy says:

    Because Benitez was such a rousing success the last time he took over an Italian side, at Inter….

    A big bummer to see Potts in with the English side….but, I guess if he’s at that level, the USA didn’t really have a shot.

    • 2tone says:

      And in the fact that Potts is not a US citizen. Which has already been stated multiple times.

      • fischy says:

        Interesting. So, did the USSF face any consequences for actually playing Potts in a game?

      • fischy says:

        Also, you’re kind of a jackass (I’m trying to keep it PG-13). Also, the passive voice is never a good idea — “Which has already been stated multiple times.” It has? By Whom? Where? I wasn’t present if Nancy Grace weighed in on this (don’t watch her), so you’ll have to excuse me….

        • bryan says:

          ignore him. he dislikes this site and doesnt think Ives is a credible source. and he only comes here “occasionally”.

        • Mig says:

          yeah, I missed that whole discussion.

          Nice Nancy Grace reference. You don’t see those every day.

  6. fischy says:

    Oddly, my browser tab says this is the “Friday Kickoff”….

  7. Nate says:

    Where does the money go in these transactions? That is, does all of the $38.7 million go to Santos, or is it split between Neymar and the club, or does that reflect the total of his yearly salaries? And if that’s all for the club, why don’t these top players hold out for free agency?

    • Dinho says:

      I believe the entire transfer fee goes to the club. Separate negotiations take place between the player and the new club to determine his wages…which all go to the player.

      Maybe I’m dumbing it down too much and might be wrong?

      • Mig says:

        I believe you are correct, Dinho, in all but the most complicated deals. I’m trying to remember one such transfer about 5 years ago that was reported to be a weird deal where the player demanded part of the transfer fee from the selling club in addition to negotiating his wages. I thought it was in Italy.. Anybody remember that one?

      • Old School says:

        Good question Nate.

        I disagree with Dinho, though, I could very well be wrong. I believe the player gets around 10% of the transfer fee in most transfer dealings around the World.

        The rest of that fee, goes to the club.

        • Tom says:

          Nobody is mentioning that the 38 million dollar sum is reputed to be less than half of the total payout from Barcelona over a period of years. Total figures of 72 million and 100 million Euros are out there in the press. These include a massive separate payment to Neymar and his father for an amount greater than the transfer fee.

    • Leo says:

      link to bloomberg.com

      “Complicating a possible transfer is the involvement of two funds that have invested in the transfer rights. While Santos will get 55 percent of any fee, the remainder will go to supermarket chain owner Delcir Sonda, whose company DIS in 2009 paid 5.5 million reais ($2.7 million) for a 40 percent stake in Neymar’s transfer rights, and a company called Terceira Estrela Investimentos S.A, which paid 3.5 million reais for a 5 percent stake in 2011.”

  8. MiamiAl says:

    Very happy Crystal Palace is back in the top flight! It has been tough to be a fan of Palace over the years, as they have been a great tease trying to return to the BPL. Zaha’s play at the end of the season was a basically a gift to Eagle fans before he leaves for Man U. South London is back in business!!! :)

  9. The Greg says:

    You left off the big news of the Wolverhampton Wolves finally making it to League One…Did you hear me…I said the wWlves, through dedication, good management and hard work have, in the space of less than 13 months gone from the lowly Premier Division to the highly regarded League One. Huzzah! Fans rejoice….

    Wait, do I have that right?

  10. bryan says:

    i still predict issues with neymar fitting in at barca. not style wise, but personality. i’m probably wrong though. and certainly bias. lol

    • Old School says:

      It’s not far fetched to believe a player that has:

      -been the center of attention
      -his former club built an entire revenue campaign around him
      -darling of his National Team
      -widely considered to be the hottest “prospect” on Earth in soccer

      ….to be a bit jaded coming into a team that he’s no “the star” and has to play within a “system”. I really don’t fault the logic in believing he could be a square peg trying to fit in a round circle.

      However, I vehemently disagree. I think he, in fact, has the right attitude and has been provided the exact lip service he needs to show in conceding this is Messi’s team. For the first time, he won’t need to be “the man” and at a young age of 21, first time playing in Europe, that could be a blessing.

      Messi has another 4-5 years of being the best in the World. Right? (Hopefully). Once that span passes, this will become Neymar’s team…at the perfect age. Neymar may have some bumps in the road and he may not fit immediately within their system as he learns but he still is a phenomenal, phenomenal talent and players of his ability will find their place/role.

      You’re not wrong in your thinking but I’m placing my bets this works out fine, in the short term and long term.

    • Tom says:

      There will be a culture clash issues, but hopefully to do a group dance or not to do a group dance after goals is not that big a deal.:)