Rumours of a giant year-end party organised by Neymar in Brazil in the midst of the COVID pandemic have revived his image as an eternal spoiled child.
Despite vigorous denials by the football star’s entourage, Brazilian media has reported he is behind a seven-day, non-stop rave for 500 guests, including a bevy of models who have begun announcing their arrivals on social media.
A disused hangar was purchased to hide VIP helicopters and private jets while a $10 million rented mansion has been soundproofed for an event dubbed locally as Neymarpalooza.
The Sun reported models Kiki Passo, Michelle Nevius and Jessica Bartlett flew in from Miami, allegedly invited by 28-year-old Brazil striker Neymar and his pals via Instagram Direct.
Meanwhile, Brazilians Camila Remedy and Fernanda Brum are said to have arrived at his mansion on Monday by private jet from Porto Alegre. They posted: “Let’s go by jet to end the year with glamour.”
Brazilian influencer and model Ana Liz Bittencourt also showed pictures of herself wearing the wristband that guarantees entry to the event.
Neymar, who was sold from Barcelona to PSG for a world record $333 million transfer fee in 2017, has been slammed by many in his homeland, which is one of the countries hit hardest by COVID.
Human rights lawyer Augusto de Arruda Botelho tweeted: “The idiot trophy for the day goes to Neymar for his five-day party.”
Juca Kfouri, a veteran sports journalist, went further, speaking of Neymar’s “criminal irresponsibility” in a podcast from the UOL website.
“Not only is there nothing in his head, but he is irresponsible, this is a very bad example for Brazil,” said Kfouri, recalling that the 28-year-old striker has often appeared alongside far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly downplayed the importance of the virus.
Earlier this week an agency named Fabrica said in a statement it had organised a party but didn’t mention Neymar.
“Agencia Fabrica clarifies that it is the creator and producer of New Year’s Eve event in the Costa Verde region, in the State of Rio de Janeiro, which will receive approximately 150 people,” it read.
“The event will take place in compliance with all health standards determined by public agencies.
“The company also clarifies that the private event, with exclusive access for guests and without ticket sales, happens with all licenses from the competent bodies necessary for its realisation.”
The glamour striker’s reps said he was invited but not involved.
“It’s a matter for the agency and it has nothing to do with Neymar,” Neymar’s lawyers told AFP. “We have no information about such an event.”
Neymar, normally active on social media, is keeping quiet. So too are his main sponsors Puma, who wrenched him away from Nike in September. Contacted by AFP, the German sports-goods manufacturer refused to comment.
The refusal to deny the party is taking place has brought a reaction from Brazilian media.
“It would be much simpler if Neymar went on social networks and said he had nothing to do with it. LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo don’t throw any parties,” said Galvao Bueno of TV Globo, on Monday evening.
After a series of seasons marred by injuries, failures in big matches and complaints about his diving when tackled, Neymar helped Paris Saint-Germain reach their first Champions League final this year.
His image received another lift when he and Kylian Mbappe led the Paris Saint-Germain players off the field after a match official aimed a racist remark at a coach of opposing Basaksehir three weeks ago during a Champions League match.
“His image was improving, but has been severely damaged again, even though 2020 was one of his best years,” sports marketing consultant Erich Beting told AFP.
State law in Rio de Janeiro does not prohibit parties in private residences. The city council of Mangaratiba, the seaside resort where Neymar owns a villa he uses for parties, said in a statement that it “did not have the power” to intervene.
“The problem with Neymar, who is used to throwing parties for his birthdays, is that he is sending back this idea of a guy who is out of touch,” Jerome Neveu, founding president of Advent, a French consultancy firm specialising in celebrity marketing, told AFP in Paris.
“He’s very popular and has a lot of followers on social networks, but he’s also quite divisive. There are people who are huge fans who will forgive him almost anything,” said Neveu. “On the other hand there are those who do not forgive him anything and call on him to set an example.”
– AFP, The Sun