Barcelona (AFP)

Neymar and his former club FC Barcelona are on Friday before the Spanish courts for their dispute over a premium negotiated before the record transfer of the player to the PSG in 2017.

According to a spokeswoman for the court, the footballer must appear at the hearing. His lawyers did not confirm it, but Spanish media released Thursday footage of his arrival at Barcelona airport.

This return to Catalonia is far from that expected by the 27-year-old star who tried all summer to return to Camp Nou. A soap opera that held the football world in suspense but ended on a failure, the multiple offers of Barça to the Parisian club were ultimately insufficient.

The hearing was set at 10:00 am (0800 GMT) at the court of L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, in the suburbs of the Catalan metropolis. The judge summoned the parties before in camera at 9:30 am to attempt conciliation.

The case concerns the bonus, the exact amount of which was never published, promised to the player in 2016 when he committed to extend his contract until 2021, and whose payment was to be staggered.

A year after signing this agreement, Neymar had gone to PSG, for the record amount of 222 million euros, and the Catalan club had refused to pay him the remaining 26 million euros of the premium.

- Breach of contract -

Barça believes that in leaving the PSG, Neymar broke his contract. The club also complained against the player to recover the portion of the premium already paid and get in addition to 8.5 million euros in damages with interest.

After an unsuccessful appeal to Fifa, the player's lawyers responded by asking the same court to pay the full premium.

According to the Spanish daily El Mundo, this case is also of interest to the Spanish tax authorities, who would investigate whether the player, tax resident in Spain in 2017, has paid all the taxes generated by this transfer, which remains the most expensive of the history.

In charge of managing the career of the star, the company NR Sports acknowledged in March that the Spanish tax authorities wanted to be informed "of the outcome" of this legal procedure, while saying that the amounts paid during the transfer had have been reported in Spain.

Judicial cases have accompanied Neymar since his arrival in Europe in 2013, from the Brazilian club Santos, where he was revealed as a future football star.

His transfer from Santos to Barcelona led to the opening of several legal proceedings in Brazil and Spain. Some are still in progress and he risks in particular to be tried in Spain for corruption after the complaint of the Brazilian group DIS, former holder of a part of the rights of the player, who feels aggrieved.

And since his arrival in Paris, the Brazilian has had to face in recent months a complaint for rape ultimately dismissed and a complaint of willful violence against a supporter in the final of the Coupe de France lost against Rennes.

© 2019 AFP