New Paris Saint-Germain signing Neymar has strongly refuted claims he joined the French club solely for the money.
PSG paid Barcelona a world record €222 million transfer fee for Neymar who is expected to earn more than €500m a week.
During his first press conference as a PSG player in Paris on Friday, Neymar was reminded that many people believe only money could have made him leave one of the biggest and most successful clubs in the world to join the newly rich French upstarts
“What I say to these people is they don’t know anything about my personal life, I was never motivated by money,” Neymar said.
“What I think about is my happiness and together with my family, I want them to be happy.
“If I was following the money, I would be somewhere else, with other clubs in other countries.
“I’m really sad that people still think that way and I’m glad that PSG believe in me.”
There are also insinuations that the Brazil star left Barcelona to escape from Lionel Messi’s huge shadow.
Neymar dismissed that claim too.
“One of my motivations to play for Barcelona was to play alongside Lionel Messi, he was my role model,” he insisted.
“There was no pressure at all there, only during the first week at Barcelona where I was nervous to train with my role models.
“But after that first week, I was relaxed and to play with the best is very easy because every player wants to play with the best in the world to win titles together.
“I want to thank Messi because he welcomed me so well and I learned so much from him in our four years together.
“But now I’m here at PSG and I want to help my team-mate in the best way and win titles.”
When asked what he thought about the new league he will be playing in, which is seen as being levels below LaLiga, Neymar said: “I heard people criticise Ligue 1 and I have spoken to players about it.
“There are no easy games here. It is a big challenge for us to win the league again. We have great potential to be the greatest club in the world.
“I’m kind of anxious to write this history.
“I have to first get to know my team-mates and get to know the city.
“Paris doesn’t need Neymar to be the most wonderful city in the world.
“Of course I’m really happy about the welcome, it’s my new home and I want to build a new dream and achieve a new challenge with my team-mates and my family.
“I’m very happy to be another Brazilian to play for a great club in a great country.”
Neymar admits there is no player like Messi at PSG, but praises his new teammates.
“When I signed for Barcelona, one of the main reasons was to play alongside Lionel Messi,” he said.
“Here in Paris, it’s the club itself and the PSG project and all of the players.
“It’s not one specific player. It’s players like Javier Pastore – who gave me his number 10 shirt.
“I would like to thank him, I was surprised by that and hopefully I can repay him.”
In the thick of the Neymar transfer drama, Gerard Pique posted a picture with him on social media, captioned ‘he’s staying’.
Neymar explains: “Me and Gerard Pique were having lunch together and he posted a picture,” he said.
“We were having fun, I told him not to do it (post the ‘he stays’ picture) because I did not make my decision. I was thinking about so much and he wanted to make a joke.
“He is one of my close friends. I wish him the best.”
“What would you say to people who think you only came to PSG for the money?”