FIFA World Cup 2022: Neymar’s political ideology divides Brazilian fans


Brazil superstar Neymar may have been sidelined from the group stage of the ongoing FIFA World Cup due to an injury but he continues to make the headlines. The Seleção fans are divided on whether to support their star player or not due to his open political support to far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro.

In the lead-up to the World Cup and the Brazilian presidential election, Neymar had promised to dedicate his first goal to Bolsonaro. However, some fans are happy that such a scene may not transpire up until the knockouts at least.

WATCH | Star footballer Neymar backs Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil vote

“I like football, so I want (Neymar) to play because he’s good. But I can’t say I’m sad he hasn’t scored. It’s great to see Neymar fail,” 29-year-old vendor Tainara Santana was quoted as saying by AFP. 

Another Brazilian fan said “the team is missing him [Neymar]” but it is the best result Brazil’s had in the World Cup as “we would have had all these Bolsonaro supporters celebrating”. 

“As a player, Neymar’s incredible, he’s an artist. As a person, he leaves a lot to be desired. Not just his political opinions, but who he is. Instead of just enjoying his bling lifestyle, he could be investing in education, social projects, setting an example for kids… he could be the man.”

unkindwhile, some could not be bothered by Neymar’s political beliefs.

“Who cares if he supports Bolsonaro? He’s a great player. I’m a huge fan, I love him. I’m rooting for him to recover,” said another vendor at Rio’s iconic Copacabana beach. 

Unlike other football players, Neymar has openly endorsed Bolsonaro after the latter supported him when rape accusations were hurled the footballer’s way. 

“Without knowing us personally, (Bolsonaro) showed affection and put his chest and face forward believing in me and now I am doing the same,” Neymar said at the time. 

“I positioned myself and never said it, but in the most difficult moment of my life the president was the first one who publicly said he would be by my side,” he added. 

Read more: Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro defends Neymar against rape accusation

Brazil on Monday beat Switzerland 1-0, courtesy of a Casemiro screamer. The victory ensured that Brazil qualified for the knockouts with one group game still in hand. Neymar is expected to make his comeback during this stage.

(With inputs from agencies)


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