Neymar has rejected comparisons to Luis Figo over his world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, while insisting he did not join the Ligue 1 club for financial gain.
The €222million deal to take the Brazil superstar to the Parc des Princes was completed on Thursday after PSG met his staggering release clause.
He was unveiled to the media at the Parc des Princes on Friday and was asked about similarities between his transfer and that of Figo, who infamously traded Barca for arch-enemy Real Madrid in a then world-record move in 2000.
Figo was branded a traitor and had a pig’s head thrown at him upon his return to Camp Nou with Los Blancos. Posters labelling Neymar a traitor have already appeared in Barcelona, while videos have emerged of fans burning his jersey.
But Neymar told reporters: “I’ve done nothing bad. I’m sad about the fact that some fans think that. I hope it’s a minority of fans.
“I never lacked respect for the fans. I think every player should be allowed to stay or leave a club. You’re not obligated to stay at a club.
“I never lacked respect towards anybody. Again, I want to thank the fans, the players, the club of Barcelona.”
Bienvenue en ton nouveau jardin pic.twitter.com/tte5CuTRcK
— PSG Officiel (@PSG_inside) August 4, 2017
On claims he is motivated by his new reported annual salary of €30m, Neymar added: “These people don’t know anything about my personal life. I was never motivated by money. What I think about is my happiness, together with my family.
“If I was following the money, maybe I would be somewhere else. It’s sad to think that some people think that.”
Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was similarly emphatic in rejecting those allegations, saying: “Some of them talk about money, which is not true at all. Neymar came here for motivation and the project, that’s what he believes in.
“If he came for money, he could get even more with other clubs. He came for ambition. He loves football, loves the challenge.
“Honestly, it’s very positive for us and for him. We know this is a great moment. It’s amazing. We’re going to talk about it for a long time.
“He wants to win a trophy, to write the history of this club. Thank you again for coming here.
Neymar Mania hits Paris!!! pic.twitter.com/4DcaWx88cd
— PSG English (@PSG_English) August 4, 2017
“In the process of the negotiation, he was trying to delay just out of respect for his team-mates and the club and the fans.
“He was a gentleman. To compare him with other players who left is not fair. I was almost disappointed because we were under pressure but he wanted to leave in the right way.
“I don’t know how you compare Neymar with others, to be honest.”
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