On Friday, Neymar Jr agreed to a five-year contract extension with FC Barcelona, Zlatan Ibrahimović to a one-year contract with Manchester United F.C. as a free agent, and Nolito joined Manchester City F.C. from Celta de Vigo for a four-year term.
End of speculations about Neymar’s future
Previously, Barcelona received offers for Neymar from Paris Saint Germain, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Real Madrid. But on Friday, Neymar agreed to sign a five-year contract extension with the blaugranes. Neymar has scored 85 goals in 141 appearances for Barça winning eight trophies. This year, he finished third in the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
Per the contract extension, Neymar’s buyout clause is €200million for the first season which would rise to €250million after the end of the second season. The formal presentation of the extension is to be two weeks later before Neymar leaves for his international duties for the Olympics 2016 in his homeland.
After the agreement, Neymar tweeted, “Very happy to continue living this dream! Long Live Barcelona and long live Catalunya”.
Ibrahimović and Mourinho reunite
Ibrahimović’s contract with French club Paris Saint Germain expired in June and Ibrahimović indicated his next move to Manchester United tweeting, “Time to let the world know. My next destination is @ManUtd [Manchester United]”. Ibrahimović has made 180 appearances for Paris and scored 156 goals. He became the club’s top scorer and helped the club win two domestic titles in a row, scoring 38 goals in Ligue 1 last season.
Former Swedish captain Ibrahimović played under José Mourinho at Italian club FC Internazionale Milano in the 2008–2009 season before Ibrahimović left for Pep Guardiola’s FC Barcelona in exchange for Samuel Eto’o.
After completing his second signing of the season, Mourinho said, “Zlatan needs no introduction. The statistics speak for themselves.” Debuting in 1999, Ibrahimović has won domestic titles in four different nations and six different clubs winning the ‘Swedish Footballer of the Year’ nine consecutive times.
After agreeing to the terms Ibrahimović said, ” I am absolutely delighted to be joining Manchester United and am looking forward to playing in the Premier League. It goes without saying that I cannot wait to work with Jose Mourinho once again.”
Arsenal F.C. tried to persuade Ibrahimović when he was 17 years old, when manager Arsène Wenger asked him to do a trial with the club. He declined the offer; recalling the incident later, he explained, “Zlatan doesn’t do auditions.”
At international level, Ibrahimović is Sweden’s all-time top scorer with 62 goals in 116 games. He retired from the Swedish team last month after their Euro exit.
At Barcelona, Ibrahimović won five trophies in one season, but clashed with Guardiola. He is likely to face Guardiola’s Manchester City in their local derby.
Nolito to work with Guardiola for a longer period
Nolito joined FC Barcelona B in 2008 just when Guardiola vacated the manager spot of the reserve team. Three years later, Nolito was promoted to the first team and played five matches under Guardiola. With limited playing time with Barcelona, he moved to Portuguese club S.L. Benfica.
Scoring 16 goals in 63 matches for Benfica, he was transferred to the Celts after a short loan to Granada CF. In three seasons with Celta Vigo, Nolito gained a place in Spain’s international team. Playing four matches in UEFA Euro 2016, Nolito scored one goal against Turkey.
Nolito has been allotted the Number 9 jersey.