Brazil football star Neymar under investigation for alleged rape in Paris

Brazil's footballer Neymar takes part in a training session of the national team at the Granja Comary sport complex in Teresopolis, Brazil, on May 25, 2019 ahead of the Copa America football tournament. (AFP / MAURO PIMENTEL)
Updated 04 June 2019

Brazil football star Neymar under investigation for alleged rape in Paris

  • The unnamed woman told Sao Paulo police that Neymar raped her at Hotel Sofitel Paris Arc Du Triomphe
  • Neymar has seen his international reputation suffer amid incidents of indiscipline

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO: A woman has accused Brazil football player Neymar of raping her in Paris, according to a Sao Paulo police report seen by Reuters, alleging that the world-renowned sports star drunkenly assaulted her at an up-market hotel in the French capital.
The accusation was the latest blow for the Brazilian, who last month was stripped of the captaincy of the national team and has seen his international reputation suffer amid incidents of indiscipline.
Neymar’s representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Globo website, which first reported the news, said a representative for Neymar declined to comment, awaiting details of the allegations.
Neymar’s father, Neymar Sr., said in a local TV interview: “If public opinion is not cleared up, and if we can’t show the truth rapidly, this will snowball. If we have to show Neymar’s WhatsApps and the conversations with this girl, we will, because it is clear that it was a trap.”
He added that they were living “difficult moments.”
According to the police report, the unnamed woman told investigators in Sao Paulo that she met Neymar on Instagram and he suggested they meet in Paris, where he plays for Paris St. Germain. Neymar’s assistant sent her plane tickets and on May 15 she checked in to the Hotel Sofitel Paris Arc Du Triomphe, according to her account.
The Sofitel hotel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The woman told police that Neymar arrived at the hotel that night “apparently drunk,” and that they talked and “caressed.”
However, at some point, Neymar became aggressive and raped the victim, the police report says.
The woman told police she returned home to Brazil two days later without telling French police about the alleged rape because she was “emotionally shaken and afraid to register the facts in another country,” according to the report.
Neymar is currently in Brazil, training with the national football team ahead of this month’s Copa America. Late last month, the country’s football federation replaced him as captain for the tournament with his Paris St. Germain team mate Dani Alves.
Earlier in May, Neymar was banned for three matches by the French football authorities for hitting a fan after PSG’s French Cup final loss to Rennes, and was also reportedly involved in a dressing room fracas with his PSG team mates.
Paris St. Germain did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Man United, Inter favorites for Europa League finale

Updated 10 August 2020

Man United, Inter favorites for Europa League finale

  • All games from the quarterfinals onwards will be played as one-off ties across four venues

PARIS: Manchester United, Inter Milan and Sevilla headline a quintet of former champions traveling to Germany for a remodeled eight-team straight knockout tournament that will crown the winner of a Europa League campaign heavily disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

All games from the quarterfinals onwards in this season’s competition will be played behind closed doors as one-off ties across four venues — Cologne, Duisburg, Dusseldorf and Gelsenkirchen — following a five-month interruption.

While a Champions League berth still awaits the victor of the final in Cologne on Aug. 21, much has changed since the COVID-19 outbreak that brought European football to a standstill in March.

“There are rules and regulations on the bubble that’s going to travel. We’ve got to stick together, stay together in and around the hotel and the training ground,” United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said of the strict health protocols clubs must respect.

Players and staff will undergo virus testing before departing for Germany and again on the eve of a match once arriving, a process repeated for each subsequent game in the final tournament.

UEFA has advised teams to travel on charter flights and minimize contact with the general public, strongly recommending the use of exclusive hotels — to which players will largely be confined — in order to avoid potential cross-contamination.

Masks will not be required for substitutes and coaching staff but they must maintain social distancing when seated, with players instructed to limit contact as much as possible when warming up. Match balls will be disinfected before kickoff and at half-time.

United, the 2017 winners, face FC Copenhagen in Monday’s quarterfinal in Cologne while Serie A runners-up Inter take on Bayer Leverkusen in a clash of former UEFA Cup champions at Dusseldorf Arena.

England forward Jesse Lingard, who played in United’s 2-0 win over Ajax in the final three years ago, is confident the team can capture the title for a second time.

“We can’t wait to get there and play this game now. 100 per cent I want to win it again,” Lingard told MUTV.

“Lifting a trophy is a special feeling you can’t really explain and winning it before you take that confidence forward. We have got a mixture of youth and experience in the squad and for the young lads to win their first trophy, it will be perfect for them.”

Should United advance to the last four they would face either Sevilla — who have won the Europa League and its precursor, the UEFA Cup, a record five times — or Premier League rivals Wolves in Cologne
on Aug. 16.

Wolves are through to a first European quarterfinal since 1972 but were punished by UEFA in midweek after failing to comply with Financial Fair Play requirements. They take on Sevilla in Duisburg on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Inter beat Getafe 2-0 in a single-leg last-16 tie Wednesday in Gelsenkirchen, and Antonio Conte’s men harbor hopes of adding to the three UEFA Cups won in the 1990s.

“This is an important competition. It doesn’t matter where and under what conditions you’re playing, you should only be focused on the upcoming match,” midfielder Christian Eriksen told Inter TV.

“It’s certainly not as fun playing without fans, the atmosphere isn’t there. We’ll try to excite them while they’re watching on TV, and we’re hoping that we’ll be able to embrace our supporters again soon.”

Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk, winners of the 2009 edition, play Swiss outfit Basel in the other quarterfinal in Gelsenkirchen.

This year’s Europa League final was initially due to be played in the Polish city of Gdansk in late May before the health crisis forced a change of plans.

Gdansk will host next year’s final instead.