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Porto to Sell Moutinho, Rodriguez to Monaco for $91 Million

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Portuguese soccer champion Porto agreed to sell midfielder Joao Moutinho and forward James Rodriguez to Monaco for 70 million euros ($91 million).

Porto, which last week secured its 27th league title, will sell Rodriguez for 45 million euros and Moutinho for 25 million euros, the club said in a statement to the Portuguese stock exchange.

Monaco, owned by Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, won promotion to France’s top division, where it will play next season.

Porto earlier this year started buying back economic rights of the two players from investors who would get a percentage of the transfer fee. According to a company report, the team in September 2012 owned 85 percent of the rights to the 26-year-old Moutinho, who was signed from rival Sporting Lisbon for 11 million euros in 2010, and 55 percent of the rights for Rodriguez, a 21-year-old Colombian attacker bought from Argentina’s Banfield for 5.1 million euros the same year.

In February, the Dragons paid 8.75 million euros to Gol Football Luxembourg to buy back the 35 percent of Rodriguez it sold to the company for 2.5 million euros in November 2010. The agreement meant Porto controlled 90 percent of Rodriguez’s rights prior to his sale to Monaco. It’s unclear who holds the outstanding 10 percent stake.

Sporting Lisbon should receive about 3.5 million euros from Porto as part of a sell-on agreement in its transfer of Moutinho.

Soccer Funds

In January, Porto paid 3.3 million euros to Soccer Invest Fund, controlled by Iranian-British businessman Kia Joorabchian, to reacquire the remaining 15 percent of Moutinho’s rights. In August 2011, it paid the company 4 million euros to buy back 22.5 percent of the central midfielder.

Such deals are commonplace in Portugal, where clubs sell stakes in players to investors to raise working capital. Soccer’s governing body FIFA is being lobbied by groups including England’s Premier League and European soccer body UEFA to ban the practice, which originated in South America.

Moutinho had been linked for the last two transfer windows with a move to Tottenham, while Rodriguez had been discussed in British media as a target for Manchester United.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in London at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

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