Neymar not taxed by poor form …
By Tom Sweetman and Amanda Davies, for CNN
May 1, 2014 — Updated 1153 GMT (1953 HKT)
(CNN) — He came from Brazil to leading Spanish club Barcelona in a mega-bucks transfer touted as the new Lionel Messi.
A series of niggling injuries this season put paid to any hope of Neymar living up to those high expectations, while the tax issues surrounding his complicated transfer from Santos cast a shadow over his new career in Europe.
But the Brazilian, who has managed just nine league goals for Barcelona since touching down in Catalonia, is quick to rule out any correlation — as some have done — between those off-field issues and his form in a “Blaugrana” shirt this season.
Which will be a relief to Brazil given how important Neymar is to their team and its hopes of winning the World Cup on home soil.
“No, I don’t think [it has affected my performances]. I’m used to leaving all those problems aside, I’m very relaxed when it comes to that,” said Neymar, who was talking to CNN at a Castrol Footkhana event.
“It’s unpleasant when everyone is talking about things that are not true, but on the pitch it doesn’t get in the way.”
True or not Neymar’s club is being investigated over tax fraud regarding the transfer — which Barcelona was forced to confirm actually totaled 86.2 million euros rather than the 57.1 million euros first announced — while Sandro Rosell had to step down from his role as president as controversy over the deal intensified.
Neymar’s former club Santos, meanwhile, is unhappy with how the transfer fee was divided up — with a large chunk having been paid to a company controlled by the player’s father, Neymar Snr — and has been seeking a bigger cut than the 17.1 million euros it originally received. (See more of this article on CNN International News – www.cnn.com)