Neymar will have to stand trial after he lost an appeal against corruption charges relating to his transfer from Santos to Barcelona, a criminal court in Spain has ruled.
The Brazilian’s move to La Liga has brought immense controversy to the club due to uncertainty surrounding how much the club paid for him, with Neymar, his father, former president Sandro Rosell and current chief Josep Maria Bartomeu all implicated in the charges.
The case was brought forward by Brazilian supermarket firm DIS, which claims it is due a 40 per cent cut of the fee Barcelona paid to sign the attacker in 2013, though it says it has not received in full.
DIS, who received just €6.8 million from the transfer, still seek funds it is said to be entitled to after Barca paid €40m separately to Neymar and his father as the overall costs of the transfer reached almost €100m.
Neymar appealed against the charges, but the court in Spain has rejected the appeals that Barca and Santos filed against the ruling that corruption charges should be filed.
It has been recommended by a Spanish prosecutor that Neymar be given a two-year prison sentence for his part in the alleged ordeal, while it has been recommended that Rosell go to jail for five years and the club be fined €8.4m.
It is the latest step in a complicated case for the 25-year-old that has been dragging on since his move in 2013, but the forward’s performances on the field have not been greatly affected. He has won two Liga titles, the Champions League and Club World Cup during his time at the Catalan side, while he has scored 10 and set up 14 in all competitions this season.