Neymar cited the chance to take Paris Saint-Germain to new heights as his primary reason for joining the club after completing his world record £200m transfer from Barcelona tonight.
The Brazil forward signed a five-year contract believed to be worth €45m (£41m) a year before tax with the French giants, more than trebling his Barcelona wage and putting him among the game’s highest earners.
Yet the 25-year-old emphasised the lure of fulfilling Qatar-backed PSG’s ambition of conquering Europe, rather than the considerable financial rewards, in his first statement with the club.
“I am extremely happy to join Paris Saint-Germain. Since I arrived in Europe, the club has always been one of the most competitive and most ambitious,” said Neymar.
“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. Paris Saint-Germain’s ambition attracted me to the club, along with the passion and the energy this brings.
“I played four seasons in Europe and I feel ready to take the challenge. From today, I will do everything I can to help my new teammates, to open up new horizons for my club and to bring happiness to its millions of supporters around the world.”
Neymar, who scored 68 goals and made 38 assists in four seasons in Spain, could make his debut in PSG’s season opener against Amiens on Saturday.
PSG completed the protracted deal by paying the €222m (£200m) buy-out fee stipulated in Neymar’s Barca contract, but only after a bizarre row with Spanish league chiefs who attempted to block the deal.
La Liga refused to accept the payment, having complained that PSG would be breaching Financial Fair Play rules, but Barcelona accepted defeat – and a fee that more doubled the previous record, Manchester United’s £89m signing of Paul Pogba last year.
Poaching one of Barcelona’s stars represents a major statement from PSG, who have won four domestic top-flight titles since their Qatari takeover in 2011 but have disappointed in the Champions League.
“It is with immense joy and pride that we welcome Neymar to Paris Saint-Germain,” said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.
“Neymar is today one of the very best players in world football. His winning mentality, strength of character and sense of leadership have made him into a great player. He will bring a very positive energy to this club.
“In six years, we have built a very ambitious project that has already taken us to the highest level of national and European football. With the arrival of Neymar, I am convinced that we will come even closer, with the support of our faithful fans, to realizing our greatest dreams.”