Clubs, French Ligue 1, Neymar, Paris Saint-Germain, Story

Argentina legend Diego Maradona backed up Neymar’s decision to join PSG.

The French government did not give Neymar tax breaks to encourage him to leave Barcelona and sign for Paris Saint-Germain last summer, France’s public accounts minister has told BFMTV.

In a book titled “PSG: Revelations of a Revolution” published earlier this week, the writers claimed Neymar, who moved to PSG in a €222 million world-record transfer, had been given financial incentives to do so.

The book alleged PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi had told politicians “France must make a gesture,” and that former France president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is a PSG fan, had “lobbied for the state to not look too closely at the deal’s financial structure, i.e. the taxes.”

But Minister Gerald Darmanin insisted the Brazil international, who earns a reported €36.8 million a year, had been given no such help.

“There was no kind of fiscal favour,” Darmanin said. “Everything was done within the fiscal laws of the Republic. It is better Mr. Neymar pays his taxes in France rather than he goes to play in another country. Mr. Neymar pays what he has to pay.”

Ian is ESPN’s French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman

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