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Neymar expected to testify at corruption trial in Barcelona

Just a month before the start of the World Cup, Brazilian superstar Neymar was expected to testify in a Spanish court Tuesday at his trial over alleged irregularities in his transfer to Barcelona nearly a decade ago.

Neymar had been set to testify on either October 21 or 28 but the judge agreed to bring forward his hearing to avoid a clash with his football commitments.

Wearing sunglasses and a dark suit, the 30-year-old arrived at the Provincial Court of Barcelona for the start of the trial Monday with his parents who are also in the dock.

Neymar spent two hours at the court before he was excused by the judge for the rest of the day’s hearing after his lawyers argued he needed to rest after playing Sunday night.

The player scored the only goal of the Ligue 1 match against Marseille.

“Da Silva Santos Junior scored a goal when I was already in bed,” admitted court president Jose Manuel del Amo.

The high-profile trial is the culmination of a years-long legal saga over Neymar’s 2013 transfer from the Brazilian club Santos to Barcelona.

He then joined Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain in a world record 222 million euro transfer in 2017.

Spanish prosecutors are seeking a two-year prison term for Neymar and the payment of a 10-million-euro ($9.7 million) fine.

He is one of nine defendants on trial on corruption-related charges, among them his parents and their N&N company, which manages his affairs.