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Qatar banks on mastery of soft power to keep Saudi tanks at bay

The impending E222m ($261m) transfer of Brazilian footballer Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior has set the club he has played for since 2013, Barcelona (sponsored by Qatar), against his new employer Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), which is owned by Qatar. Barca and Spanish La Liga officials complain PSG has violated the ‘financial fair play’ rules of football’s European governing body UEFA. Other observers believe the world-record transfer – which is more than twice the size of the previous mega-deal – sends another signal: that Qatar is carrying on with business as usual in terms of projecting its soft power muscle to underline its status as a small state with world class (and World Cup) ambitions.

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