The Word on the Week


Just when we thought the cost of soccer transfer fees could not go higher Neymar, the mercurial Brazilian, leaves Barcelona and joins PSG for €222,000,000! This figure, which is the price demanded by the release clause, is more than double the previous highest – Paul Pogba (Man. United) last year – and shows an inflationary spiral matched only by US basketball players’ fees!

So where does this money come from? Up to the present clubs owned by Russian oligarchs and oil-rich royal families from the Middle East have driven the market. Now we have a country, Qatar, who owns the Parisian PSG splashing the cash!

Or are they? With the 2022 World Cup being hosted by Qatar there could be some astute marketing going on which will be looked at by UEFA in due course.
In the meantime, Neymar at age 25 has extracted himself from under the wing of the Barcelona great players such as Messi and Suarez and has a 5-year contract at €30 million per annum after tax. Of course such a star is a marketable commodity who will bring in endorsements of around half his salary. He will hopefully keep PSG at the top of their league winning many trophies in the years ahead.

All this depends on the player not being injured. Presumably he is well insured! He will also give Qatar people something to get their collective mind off their political troubles with their neighbouring states.

It’s a far cry from the fee Barcelona extracted from Qatar to the fee Judas Iscariot extracted from the Chief Priests of 30 pieces of silver – the price of a slave – the equivalent of 4 months’ wages (St Matthew Chapter 26 verse 14 and 27 verses 3 to 10).
But of course the blood of Jesus cannot be bought. Money cannot buy it. No church can sell it. It is not the blood that flowed through Mary’s veins and by birth into Jesus but the expression the Bible uses to signify the death of Jesus with all its benefits for the repentant believer.

St Peter summarises it in 1st Peter chapter 1 verses 17 to 23.
“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

We wish Neymar well in the next stage of his career but better that all the silver and gold of Qatar is to be numbered among the “believers in God” that St Peter refers to.