Neymar told the court that he didn’t take part in the transfer talks with Barcelona

BARCELONA: Brazilian soccer star Neymar Jr said in court on Tuesday he did not take part in the negotiations for his move from Santos to “childhood dream” club Barcelona in 2013, but signed what his father had told him.

Besides 30-year-old Neymar, eight other accused of fraud and corruption linked to the transfer are on trial, including his parents, representatives of the two clubs, former Barca presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell and former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues .

All defendants have denied any wrongdoing.

“I didn’t take part in the negotiations. My father always took care of it and always will. I sign everything he tells me,” said Neymar in his first testimony in the trial in Barcelona, ​​which begins on Monday.

“Playing for Barcelona was always my dream, a childhood dream.”

The case centers on a claim by Brazilian investment firm DIS, which owned 40 per cent of the rights to Neymar when he was at Brazil’s Santos, that they lost their rightful cut on the transfer because the deal’s value was underestimated.

Spanish prosecutors are looking for a two-year prison sentence and a €10m ($9.8m) fine for Neymar. They also want a five-year prison sentence for Rosell and a €8.4million fine for Barcelona.

A court document released in July claims Barcelona started negotiations with the player in 2011, paid him €40m to secure his move when his contract with Santos expired in 2014 and thereby prevented other clubs from signing him.

“Our intention was to prepare a career plan for him in Europe, where we were already established, where we could learn the language, etc. And knowing his dream of playing for Barcelona, ​​we signed this priority agreement with them,” he said the player’s father, Neymar da Silva Santos, told the court.

None of the defendants, who are representatives or former personalities of the clubs, have testified so far. Neymar and his parents had the right not to testify but chose to do so, only answering questions from the prosecutor and their own shifts.

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, who testified via video link, told the court his club offered €45m in 2011 and €36m to sign Neymar in 2013, but the player chose Barcelona instead.

Law firm Baker McKenzie, which defends Neymar, who joined Paris St. Germain in 2017, and his family, has said in a statement it will argue that the Spanish courts lack jurisdiction because the transfer involved a Brazilian national in Brazil.

Neymar’s lawyers say the competition rules relate to products and services and not the transfer market.

(Editing by Alison Williams)