“He must stay, not just three years, but five or 10 years more,” Barcelona team president Josep Bartomeu told Catalunya Radio (via the Associated Press).
To ensure the team’s seriousness about Neymar’s retention, Bartomeu added that the discussion of an extension would begin “in the next few months,” before next summer’s transfer window when many thought Neymar would make his move to the Premier League.
Neymar’s contract currently runs until 2018, but according to top Brazilian sports publication Globo Esporte, Manchester United would be willing to pay the star’s release clause of €190 million ($218 million), which would shatter world transfer fee records. Welsh star Gareth Bale currently holds the record, according to the Telegraph, which reports Real Madrid paid £86 million ($135 million) to Tottenham to acquire him in 2013.
Neymar made $14 million in salary and winnings last season with Barcelona and scooped up an additional $17 million in endorsements, according to Forbes, which ranks him as the 23rd richest athlete in the world.
While sources close to Neymar reportedly said the star would be excited for a new challenge in the Premier League, Barcelona offers something the British league currently does not — teammates Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Together, the three set a new Spanish record last season, scoring a total of 122 goals. Thirty-nine came from Neymar.
Barcelona went on to win a trio of trophies by earning titles in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. No other threesome was as successful last season. Nor did any trio share more celebratory hugs. The three amigos all get along off the field, as well. That kind of chemistry is something no amount of money can buy.