Barca players willing to ‘delay pay’ to re-sign Neymar

Will Ford

Barcelona’s players were willing to accept delays to their pay if it would help the club re-sign forward Neymar, according to star defender Gerard Pique.

Neymar left Barcelona for Paris St-Germain for a world record fee of 222m euros (£200m) in 2017 and Barcelona did “everything possible” to re-sign the Brazil international but the prospective move fell through.

Pique said players told the club they would accept delays to pay to help the club meet Financial Fair Play rules, reports BBC Sport.

“We were ready to adjust our contracts,” Pique told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

“We weren’t going to contribute money, but we were going to make things easier by allowing some payments to be made in the second or third year instead of the first.”

Barcelona spent more than £200m in the summer, including deals for midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Ajax and Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid.

Financial Fair Play rules, which prevent clubs from spending beyond their means, were understood to be one of the issues Barcelona would have had to have overcome to sign forward Neymar.