Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil forward Neymar has been ordered to pay his former club Barcelona €6.7 million (Dh27.6m) after losing a lawsuit over an unpaid bonus.
Neymar moved from Barca to PSG for a world record fee of €222m in 2017 but took the La Liga side to court over the terms of the last contract he signed with them a year earlier, claiming he was entitled to €43.6 million.
"Barcelona expresses its satisfaction with the verdict announced today in relation to the lawsuit involving FC Barcelona and the player Neymar Jr regarding the amount of the signing bonus in the final renewal of the player’s contract," Barcelona said in a statement.
"The ruling has fully dismissed the player’s claim for payment of €43.6 million, and has accepted a large part of the defence presented by FC Barcelona, as a result of which the player must return €6.7 million to the club.
"Since the player’s representative is entitled to appeal this decision, the club shall continue to fervently defend its legitimate interests."
Neymar could launch an appeal against the decision. Barcelona contended that the clause relating to the bonus payment was rendered null and void when he left Camp Nou.
The case was initially taken to Fifa, who closed their investigation with no action being taken in February 2018, and now Barca have been awarded the judgement in the law courts.
Despite their long-running legal dispute, Barca tried to sign Neymar last year and the player even stopped training with PSG in order to try and force through the move, prompting angry protests from the French side's supporters.
The move eventually broke down, with PSG's sporting director Leonardo claiming Barca failed to meet their asking price for the forward, who formed a world-beating attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez between 2014 and 2017.
Neymar remains a popular figure among the leaders of the Barca squad, including Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, with whom he formed a devastating attacking trio during his time at Camp Nou.
"I've said it many times, as a footballer Ney is one of the best in the world and I would love for him to return," Messi said in an interview with Barcelona newspaper Mundo Deportivo in February.
"He was always happy, he had fun both on and off the pitch. He brought a special sense of joy to the dressing room.
"He is eager to return, he was always regretful. He tried a lot to come back and that would be the first step in trying to get him here."
Another attempt to re-sign Neymar was expected this summer but the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic make an agreement even more unlikely.
"Neymar-type transfers will not happen," said La Liga president Javier Tebas earlier this month.
Neymar was brought to PSG to help them finally win the Champions League but they failed to go past the last 16 in his first two years at the club.
This season, they are one of four teams through to the quarter-finals, which will be played in Lisbon in August, according to an announcement made by Uefa on Wednesday.