Barcelona star Neymar to face trial alongside club president Josep Maria Bartomeu

 
Joe Hall
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Neymar has been cleared of fraud - but will still face trial (Source: Getty)

Barcelona star Neymar is set for a date in court on corruption charges relating to his 2013 transfer from Brazilian club Santos, with prosecutors recommending he be handed a two-year jail sentence.

The 25-year-old will be joined by current and former Barcelona presidents Josep Maria Bartomeu and Sandro Rosell, as well as former Santos president Odilio Rodrigues who all face additional fraud charges.

Neymar's move to the Camp Nou has been the subject of much scrutiny from authorities in Spain and Brazil.

Their latest case has been lodged by an investment group belonging to Brazilian supermarket DIS, who owned 40 per cent of the striker's sporting rights, and claim they did not receive a fair share of the transfer fee paid to Santos by Barcelona.

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The Spanish giants said at the time of the deal that the transfer fee was €57.1m (£47m), €40m of which was paid to Neymar's family.

DIS received a 40 per cent share of the leftover €17m yet the court believes the actual fee paid to Santos was €25m.

"The judge has set bonds of €3.4m as pecuniary liability for Rosell, Bartomeu, Rodrigues, Barcelona and Santos, which must be paid by all jointly," said a Spanish High Court statement.

Neymar is not at risk of serving time behind bars as Spanish law rules that any sentences of two years and under for first offenders are always suspended.

Yet the trial will do nothing to improve Barcelona's image, after teammates Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano were both handed suspended jail sentences for similar offences.

The club paid a €5.5m fine to settle a separate dispute over the transfer with a lifelong club member - a socio - who alleged misappropriation of funds.

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