Rio de Janeiro (AFP) – Brazil’s football star Neymar is getting involved in politics and has given his backing to former fellow international forward Romario in the upcoming gubernatorial elections next month.
“I’m here to say I support you. To you and all those that are with you,” Neymar, the Paris Saint-Germain striker, said in a message circulating on the internet.
Romario, who helped Brazil lift the World Cup in 1994, is running for governor of his native Rio de Janeiro in the October 7 elections.
The former Barcelona forward is currently a senator for Rio.
“I hope you can improve Rio de Janeiro a lot. I go there and love this city,” said Neymar, who is from Sao Paulo state.
When not playing for PSG, Neymar is known to relax at his luxury villa at the small seaside resort of Mangaratiba, around 100-kilometers (60 miles) from Rio.
It’s not the first time Neymar has expressed support for a politician, having backed center-right candidate Aecio Neves in the 2014 presidential elections.
Having retired from his playing career, for the second time, in 2009, Romario was first elected a Rio deputy in 2010 and then became a senator in 2014.
He now wants to govern Rio state, which is close to bankruptcy and has seen a wave of violence since hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.
Having previously represented the center-right PSDB party, Romario is now standing for the centrist Podemos party.
The latest opinion poll by Ibope consultancy a week ago gave Romario 20 percent of the vote, just behind center-right candidate Eduardo Paes, with 23.