Euronews is no longer accessible on Internet Explorer. This browser is not updated by Microsoft and does not support the last technical evolutions. We encourage you to use another browser, such as Edge, Safari, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox.



Brazil's Bolsonaro defends soccer star Neymar against rape accusation

Brazil's Bolsonaro defends soccer star Neymar against rape accusation
Soccer Football - Copa America - Brazil Training - Granja Comary, Teresopolis, Brazil - June 4, 2019. Brazilian Neymar during training REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes -
Text size Aa Aa

By Lisandra Paraguassu

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro on Wednesday came out in support of Neymar, the national soccer star who has been accused of raping a woman last month in Paris, an allegation he denies.

“Today I’m supposed to be at the game between Brazil and Qatar,” said Bolsonaro at an event in the city of Aragarças. “I hope to hug Neymar. He is a boy who is in a difficult moment but I believe in him.”

A woman accused Neymar, 27, of raping her at a Paris hotel last month, according to a police report seen by Reuters at the weekend. Sao Paulo police are investigating the accusation.

Following media reports on the matter, Neymar posted a long video on Instagram in which he denied the accusations against him, said he was a victim of extortion, and shared WhatsApp messages with the alleged victim, including racy photos he had received.

That led police in Rio de Janeiro to open a fresh investigation into whether he had committed a crime by posting the intimate pictures online.

The Brazilian national soccer team is preparing for the Copa America – a tournament played by South America’s 10 national teams – plus invitees Japan and Qatar, kicking off on June 14.

Bolsonaro added that Neymar retained his support ahead of Wednesday night’s game.

“Neymar, tonight, we’re together, you’re going to score two goals,” the president said.

Bolsonaro spent nearly three decades in Congress before being elected president last year.

In 2003, he pushed Congresswoman Maria do Rosario of the leftist Workers Party and told her that he “would never rape you because you do not deserve it” and because she was “very ugly.”

Bolsonaro repeated the comment in 2014 in the chamber and was convicted on a charge of inciting rape last year. In February, Supreme Court Justice Marco Aurelio Mello ordered Bolsonaro to pay a fine of 10,000 reais ($2,577.78) to Rosario.

(Reporting by Lisandra Paraguassu and Gabriel Stargardter; Editing by Bill Rigby)

euronews provides breaking news articles from reuters as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. Articles appear on for a limited time.