Judge opens proceedings for Neymar's corruption trial

In a high-profile transfer Neymar left Santos in Brazil in 2013, but ever since he moved the deal has been shrouded in mystery over alleged irregularities.

The current case relates to a complaint from Brazilian investment group DIS, which owned 40% of Neymar's transfer rights and claims they didn't receive their fair share of the transfer deal.

The transfer figure originally published by Barcelona was €57.1m (£48.4m) with €40m euros (£33.9m) of that given to his family.

The Brazilian forward has scored 99 goals in 176 appearances since joining Barcelona.

Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu and his predecessor Sandro Rosell were also named as defendants over the Brazilian's 2013 transfer from Santos.

Last summer the case was archived but Spanish prosecutors overturned that ruling, plus appeals which have tried to stop Neymar from appearing in court have been rejected as he's now been ordered to stand trial.

The club also admitted that it paid nearly €100m (about R1.49 billion) for Neymar, not the €57.1m (about R855.7m) it originally claimed. Sentences of two years or less are usually suspended for first-time offenders in Spain.

DIS has called for five-year sentences for Neymar and his parents, who acted as the player's representatives, eight years for Rosell and Bartomeu plus a mammoth 195 million euro fine for Barca. But the court put the actual value of the rights to the player that were transferred to Barcelona at 25.2 million euros, and said DIS's cut should have been based on that amount.

The decision to order Neymar to stand trial is another blow to the image of the Spanish giants and the player himself.

Neymar's career has skyrocketed at Barcelona, where he has excelled on the pitch alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

  • Steve Townsend