FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Copa America - Brazil Training - Granja Comary, Teresopolis, Brazil - May 25, 2019 Brazil's Neymar during training (REUTERS)
Brazil football player Neymar has denied accusations of rape contained in a Sao Paulo police report seen by Reuters, saying he had been the victim of an extortion attempt by a lawyer claiming to represent the woman he is alleged to have assaulted.
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.
The woman alleged that Neymar had drunkenly assaulted her this month at an upmarket hotel in the French capital, where he plays for the Paris St Germain club.
A statement issued by Neymar’s management on his website (www.neymaroficial.com) said the 27-year-old forward completely repudiated the allegations.
“Although he was surprised by the news, the facts were already known to the player and his staff, considering that a few days ago he was the victim of an attempted extortion, practiced by a lawyer from Sao Paulo who said he represented the interests of the alleged victim,” read the statement.
“The player’s lawyers were immediately notified and have since taken all appropriate steps.
“We completely repudiate the unjust accusations and, above all, the exposure in the press of an extremely negative situation.
“All evidence of attempted extortion and non-rape will be submitted to the police authorities in a timely manner.”
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.
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 through violence, practiced sexual intercourse against the will of 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’s father, Neymar Sr., earlier told local TV in Brazil the accusations were a trap and that his son would publish social media conversations with his accuser, if necessary.
The player is 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 club 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 team mates.
Paris St Germain did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Brazil’s football federation (CBF) declined to comment.
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)