A few days before Brazil’s national elections on Sunday, Neymar Jr. soccer star has appeared in a campaign video endorsing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward and Brazil captain appeared in a TikTok video singing Bolsonaro’s campaign jingle, where he lip-synced: “Vote, vote and press ‘confirm’ for 22, that’s Bolsonaro,” to the Brazilian president’s official voting number referring to .
The video was also posted on Neymar’s personal TikTok account on Thursday.
Neymar’s endorsement comes a day after he visited the footballer Bolsonaro’s non-profit organization, Instituto Projeto Neymar Jr, in the state of Sao Paulo.
A video of Bolsonaro touring the Institute, which seeks to create opportunities for low-income families and children in the city of Praia Grande through educational and sports initiatives, was posted on the Institute’s official Twitter account.
Although Neymar was unable to host the president in person, he sent him a video message from Paris, where he had just played in a friendly with the Brazilian national team, helping Brazil to a 5-1 victory over Tunisia in their final game. before the World Cup that will be played in Qatar.
However, Neymar’s show of support has drawn criticism, with Brazilian comedian Yuri Marçal drawing attention to Bolsonaro’s historically antagonistic relationship with indigenous Brazilians.
In response to criticism for his support of Bolsonaro, Neymar tweeted on Friday, “They talk about democracy and many things, but when someone has a different opinion, those who talk about democracy attack him. Go figure it out.”
The distinctive yellow jersey of Brazil’s national team is a symbol that unites the country through a love of football and national pride, but in recent years the shirt has been adopted by Bolsonaro’s right-wing supporters, who wear it at protests and rallies to show political allegiance. The president of Brazil has created a debate.
Walter Casagrande, a former footballer of the Brazilian national team and of the São Paulo Corinthians club, remembers the feeling of scoring a goal in his first game with the “Selecao” in 1985 wearing a yellow jersey.
“It was a magical thing,” Casagrande told CNN Sport in 2020, “it gave me a tremendous emotion like an enchanted object.
“Now I think the yellow jersey of Brazil has been hijacked and appropriated by the right wing, so we can’t use it,” added Casagrande, whose sentiments are on the left side of the political divide.
Casagrande said that for him the strength of the yellow shirt used to be that it represented democracy and freedom.
“Brazil is really showing up to the world right now,” he said two years ago. “It is the first time in my life that I see the yellow jersey being used against democracy and freedom.”
Neymar’s support for Bolsonaro could be timely, according to a nationwide opinion poll released on Thursday, showing Brazil’s former president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva leading incumbent President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva by 14 points heading into the first ballot in the country’s Oct. 2 presidential election.
A nationwide survey by the Datafolha Institute published by the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo shows that Lula would have won 50% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 36%, excluding invalid and void ballots and undecided voters.
Whoever gets 50% plus one vote would win the election without the need for a runoff.
In 2014, on the eve of the first round of presidential voting, Neymar recorded a video expressing his support for Aécio Neves of the centrist PSDB party, who was defeated in the second round by Dilma Rousseff of the leftist Workers’ Party.
In 2010, Neymar publicized his meeting with then President Lula on his social networks.
“Me and Paulo Henrique Ganso have just met the president of the Republic, very nice! It will be marked for the rest of your life!” he wrote at the time.
Neymar’s Seleção striker Lucas Moura has also supported Bolsonaro in the Cara a Tapa podcast: “I don’t see a perfect candidate for the presidency, but I can’t deny that Bolsonaro is the guy who comes closest to it. I believe.”
Lula recently received a vote of confidence from Anitta, Brazil’s biggest pop star, and has garnered widespread support from foreign celebrities including American actors Mark Ruffalo and Danny Glover and British musician Roger Waters.