Neymar's transfer certificate received by French federation, paving way for debut
Brazilian soccer star Neymar smiles as he watches the match at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, after his official presentation to fans ahead of Paris Saint-Germain's season opening match against Amiens. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
The Associated Press
Published Friday, August 11, 2017 12:23PM EDT
PARIS -- Neymar is expected to make his long-awaited debut with Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday in the small Brittany town of Guingamp after French football authorities finally received the Brazil star's international transfer certificate (ITC).
The French football federation said on Friday it had received the document from its Spanish counterpart, more than a week after PSG signed the Brazilian from Barcelona.
The French football league then told The Associated Press that the ITC had been submitted by the federation and that Neymar's transfer would be ratified later Friday, clearing the way for him to play at Guingamp on Sunday night.
The hold-up prevented Neymar from making his PSG debut last Saturday against Amiens after completing his world-record 222 million euro ($262 million) transfer.
PSG wanted Neymar to start the season at the Parc des Princes but his debut was delayed because of the paperwork issues. Neymar was unveiled to the PSG fans on Saturday but could only watch from the stands as his new team started its league campaign with a 2-0 win.
Barcelona said there was nothing strange about the situation and that the wait was due to the banks. A few hours before the French federation confirmed it had received the ITC, several Spanish media reported on Friday that the 222 million euros had finally been made available in the club's accounts.
There has been speculation in France that Barcelona slowed down the whole process as a retaliation measure against PSG after the French league club lured one of its three biggest stars out of the Camp Nou.
Asked about his views on the issue after the Amiens game, PSG coach Unai Emery said he was not sure "Spain did everything" to ensure Neymar would be cleared to play for PSG in time.
Emery has yet to announce his squad for the trip to Guingamp but it is very unlikely Neymar will not be included. After partying with friends in southern France, Neymar has returned to training with his teammates this week and Emery said he wants him to start on Sunday.
"We all want him to start playing," Emery told a press conference on Friday. "We want him in the squad, and in the starting XI. He has trained well, and we have also worked on tactical aspects and set pieces. He is ready."