PARIS (AP) — The Latest on Brazil soccer star Neymar's move from Barcelona to PSG (all times local):
The Qatari owners of Paris Saint-Germain have long made it clear they want to win European football's biggest prize — the Champions League — and now Neymar is looking to help them do just that.
After completing his world record move to PSG, the Brazil star said "the biggest challenge, what most motivated me to join my new teammates, is to help the club to conquer the titles that their fans want."
Neymar's view was shared by PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who said "with the arrival of Neymar Jr, I am convinced that we will come even closer, with the support of our faithful fans, to realizing our greatest dreams."
Neymar, who has signed a five-year contract, is expected to appear at a news conference in Paris on Friday.
Barcelona says that Neymar has paid the 222 million euro ($262 million) buyout clause to free him from his contract, clearing the way for the Brazil forward to sign for Paris Saint-Germain.
In a statement released Thursday, Barcelona says that "Neymar Jr's legal representatives visited in person the club's offices and made the payment of 222 million euros in the player's name with regards to the unilateral termination of the contract that united both parties."
The payment of the clause shatters the previous world record transfer of 105 million euros (then $116 million) that Manchester United paid for France midfielder Paul Pogba last year.
Luis Suarez has wished Neymar well as the Brazil striker closes in on a record-breaking move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Barcelona forward posted on Instagram a photo of him embracing Neymar during a soccer game.
The post includes the message: "My friend i wish you the best in everything that comes!!! Also thank you for your support, for everything that i learned with you and for the unique moments that we spent together!!!! Keep like this and never change love you little bro"
On Wednesday, Neymar told Suarez and other teammates that he wanted to leave Barcelona, while his representative confirmed widespread rumors that PSG is ready to pay the 222 million euro ($262 million) buyout clause.
The French football league is throwing its support behind Paris Saint-Germain in its bid to sign Neymar from Barcelona.
In a statement published Thursday, the LFP said it is surprised that its Spanish counterpart refused to accept the payment of Neymar's release clause.
The LFP added it "supports Paris Saint-Germain and wishes Neymar's arrival in the Ligue 1 championship."
The LFP insisted that Spain's La Liga should stick to FIFA rules and clear the way for Neymar's transfer, adding that its legal services were at PSG's disposal to make sure a deal is agreed "as soon as possible."
Barcelona says it is "waiting to see how the situation develops" after the Spanish league refused to accept the payment of Neymar's release clause that would clear his way to sign for Paris Saint-Germain.
A Barcelona official tells The Associated Press that the club will make no comment about the league's refusal and it is "waiting to see how the situation develops."
The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity in line with club policy.
Neymar's representatives unsuccessfully tried to pay the 222 million euro ($262 million) buyout clause Thursday at the Spanish league's office.
The Spanish league rejected the payment and refused to act as an intermediary. League president Javier Tebas has claimed that PSG is breaking UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules by trying to pay the record-breaking clause.
By JOSEPH WILSON
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has congratulated PSG president Nasser Al-Khailafi for the expected signing of Neymar with the French league club.
But Aulas could not help aiming a barb at his big-spending rival in his message posted on Twitter: "Congrats to Nasser for the realization of this worldwide unique operation: I'm impatient to know about the real costs of the operation."
To secure the transfer of Neymar, who is expected in Paris in the coming days, PSG will have to pay 222 million euros ($262 million) in a buyout clause that will release the Brazil forward from his contract with Barcelona.
Aulas added in another message that Neymar's arrival in Paris will be a huge boost for the French league.
The Spanish league says that representatives of Neymar have tried unsuccessfully to pay the 222 million euro ($262 million) buyout clause that would release the Brazilian star from his contract with Barcelona and clear his signing for Paris Saint-Germain.
A league official tells The Associated Press that the Spanish league refused to accept the payment and won't act as an intermediary for the player.
The league's refusal does not stop Neymar's exit from Barcelona as the money can be paid directly to the club. The payment of the clause would shatter the previous world record transfer of 105 million euros (then $116 million) that Manchester United paid for France midfielder Paul Pogba last year.
The official spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity in line with league policy.
The official said that Juan de Dios Crespo, a Spanish lawyer representing Neymar, arrived at the league offices Thursday, accompanied by three Brazilians, with the intention of depositing the buyout clause.
League president Javier Tebas told Spanish sports daily AS on Wednesday that the league believes the transfer violates UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules.
By JOSEPH WILSON
French President Emmanuel Macron is welcoming the likely arrival of Brazilian soccer star Neymar at Paris-Saint Germain in a record $262 million deal.
Macron met with PSG President Nasser al-Khelaifi on the sidelines of a charity event Thursday, and told him "congratulations, I understand there's been some good news."
Al-Khelaifi responded only with a big smile.
While neither mentioned Neymar's name, it's been all over French media and social networks since the striker announced his departure from Barcelona Wednesday after four trophy-filled seasons.
Neymar is expected in Paris in the coming days.
France's budget minister also has reason to celebrate. Gerald Darmanin said Thursday on France-Inter radio that "it's better that this football player pays his taxes in France than elsewhere."