Brazilian superstar Neymar has just completed his transfer to Paris St. Germain from Barcelona for a five-year contract of $263 million (another report put it at $261 million).
That does not include his monthly salary (more than $1 million a week, according to still another report) and the transfer “commission” of more than $40 million for his father) to seal the 25-year-old’s status as the highest paid football player in the world.
The ridiculously outrageous sums flying around the continent overshadow the politics behind the record transfer of the Brazilian midfielder.
Paris St. Germain, according to CNN, was bought by state-owned Qatar Sports Investment Inc. in 2012 for $170 million.
The move hardly shocked the football world, Qatar being known to splurge in practically everything so that it would be accepted as one of the big boys on the international sports stage.
Besides, Paris St. Germain being not yet in the league of Barca, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Manchester United could be expected to go into acquisition overdrive to be able to penetrate the inner circle of the real deals in futbol.
Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup despite being a country that has a mediocre football team (FIFA ranking: 79) but with reportedly world-class facilities capable of meeting tough standards demanded by organizers of the reputedly biggest athletic event outside of the Olympic Games where the prized Jules Rimet Trophy is at stake.
Don’t be surprise if it turned its football stadiums into tolerable summer arenas for Germany, Portugal, Mexico, Chile and other possible qualifiers for the biggest football spectacular five years from now by air-conditioning them to everyone’s satisfaction.
On other occasions, the desert country in the Middle East could simply let its GDP of $185 billion (2017) do the talking and get to be the host of future Tier 1 sports extravaganzas.
Tiny Qatar (11,581 square kilometers and populated by just 2.7 million people), however, has fallen into hard (political) times.
Six countries in the region recently severed diplomatic ties with Doha over its alleged coddling of terrorists, an accusation that it has consistently denied.
Neymar could end up as collateral damage if the political and ideological winds of change in the Middle East blew away Qatar from the sporting map.
If that happens, will Barca’s door remain open for the prodigal son?
FIFA nor Barcelona would not know because the ball is in the hands of politicians in various governments who probably are looking beyond football matches to advance their respective countries’ interests.