Now that Neymar’s stunning transfer from Barcelona to PSG is complete, here’s a look at the events of the summer that led to the world-record move:
JULY 16: PSG READY TO PAY
The first indication that what has been labelled ‘the transfer of the century’ is on comes from Brazilian football website Chuteira FC which announces that PSG are “ready to pay” the famous €222 million buy-out clause.
JULY 18: NEYMAR SAYS YES
“Neymar has accepted PSG’s offer”, Barcelona-based Brazilian journalist Marcelo Bechler posts on Twitter.
JULY 19: NEYMAR “HAPPY” AT BARCA
Neymar tells Goal.com website that he’s “happy” at his club. “Now, we must work for next season, which is going to be more positive both from a personal and a team point of view”.
JULY 20: THIAGO SILVA’S ‘LIKE’
With the transfer soap opera playing out on social media PSG captain Thiago Silva raises eyebrows when he ‘likes’ a photo montage of the French club’s four Brazilians behind their compatriot Neymar photo-shopped wearing a PSG shirt and published by Brazil’s Esporte Interativo.
PSG coach Unai Emery lends credibility to the talk of a move for Neymar with comments in an interview with sports daily L’Equipe.
“If we want to compete with Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Real Madrid, and win the Champions League, PSG must have one of the top five players in the world,” he says.
JULY 21: THE PHOTO OF THE THINKER
During Barcelona’s tour of the United States, Neymar posts a troubling photo on Instagram in which he is stretched out on the grass with his left hand supporting his chin.
He makes no comment apart from an emoji suggesting that he is in reflection mode. The photo is ‘liked’ by three PSG players (Kevin Trapp, Marco Verratti and Angel di Maria).
JULY 22: DANI ALVES GETS IMPATIENT
PSG’s new signing Dani Alves, a close friend and compatriot of Neymar, posts a message on Instagram which appears to be directed at his former Barcelona teammate and hints at a certain impatience.
“What do you want to be? Where do you want to go? All these questions depend on you never forgetting where you came from and who was at your side when you were somebody but the world didn’t know who you were?”
But Neymar stays silent.
JULY 23: “HE’S STAYING”
That is what Barcelona central defender Gerard Pique tweets — “Se queda” in Spanish — as a caption to a photo in which he is arm in arm with Neymar.
JULY 26: PIQUE PLAYS IT DOWN
“It is a personal opinion drawn from the conversation I had with him and from my intuition,” affirms Pique, playing down his claims that Neymar is staying in Catalonia.
JULY 28: TRAINING GROUND ALTERCATION
The Daily Mail publishes a video showing Neymar scrapping with his teammate Nelson Semedo, one of Barcelona’s summer signings, on the club’s US tour.
The Brazilian is held back by his team-mates before tossing away his bib and walking off the pitch.
JULY 29: “BE BRAVE”
“Be courageous. The world belongs to the courageous,” Dani Alves tells reporters in a message aimed at Neymar and at convincing one of his best friends to join him at PSG.
Alves was speaking after Paris beat Monaco 2-1 in the Moroccan city of Tangiers in the French Champions Trophy.
JULY 30: BARCA RESIGNED, LA LIGA ISSUES THREAT
“In football there are clauses and if he wants to leave he knows there are people who can pay the clause,” declares the Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu with a hint of resignation that he will have to let Neymar go.
The Spanish league, meanwhile, is opposed to the deal, targeting PSG’s owners. La Liga president Javier Tebas says: “It means that the Qatari state is injecting money and that violates UEFA’s financial fair play rules and the European Union’s norms of economic competition, and we’re going to file a complaint.”
JULY 31: CHINESE TRIP
After Barcelona’s US tour, in which he was a standout performer on the field, Neymar spends a day in Shanghai attending promotional events, essentially fashion-related. Not a word is said about an impending transfer.
AUGUST 1: BACK TO BARCELONA
Neymar returns to Barcelona via Dubai, amid speculation that he might have been headed directly for Paris or Qatar.
AUGUST 2: DEPARTURE DAY
Neymar tells Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde and his team-mates that he intends to quit the club. Barca insist that the 222 million-euro buyout clause “must be paid in full”.
“We are going to pay the clause. Once Neymar gave me the green light, on August 1, I went to Paris and I got a proposition from PSG to pay the clause, which will be done in the coming hours,” said the player’s advisor Wagner Ribeiro.
Neymar travels to the Portuguese city of Oporto for a medical, according to press reports.
AUGUST 3: IT’S A DEAL
Neymar’s world record move is completed when the French club confirm the Brazilian superstar has signed a five year-deal, earning him an estimated €30 million a year.
“I am extremely happy to join Paris Saint-Germain,” said Neymar.
“The club has always been one of the most competitive and most ambitious. And the biggest challenge, what most motivated me to join my new teammates is to help the club to conquer the titles that their fans want.”